What can do you do when your relationship with the joint owner of your real estate sours and it is no longer practical to continue owning the property? In Illinois, either party has the right to seek a partition. This means they can force the sale of the property. The statute provides for a sale through a court ordered public auction but the parties often agree to a more profitable private sale through a real estate broker. Once a buyer is found, the courts, or the parties through a negotiated settlement, will resolve distribution of the net proceeds. The distribution does not have to be in direct proportion to the party's legal title. Instead, the courts consider the following factors: the amount paid by each party for the down payment at the time of purchase; each party's respective contributions to mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance; and who had occupancy and possession of the property and for what time periods. Partition actions are most common among those who were dating but not married or among family members who no longer get along. If you are having a problem with the other owner(s) of your property, you need a real estate lawyer to protect your interests and to make sure you receive all to which you are entitled. Feel free to contact us for further information.