In Florida, after the initial petition is filed, and the petitioner's new counsel states the they want to "add a count for Partition" to the original petition, what does that mean? What is a "count for partition" exactly?
State/Country relating to question: Florida
Florida Divorce Law website: The only reference I could find was "Real Estate Partition", and I believe the petitioner in my case is filing another "count" against me, perhaps in regards XX XXX selling of a marital home.
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QUESTION: "In Florida, after the initial petition is filed, and the petitioner's new counsel states the they want to "add a count for Partition" to the original petition, what does that mean? What is a "count for partition" exactly?"
ANSWER: Here is how this works. In Florida family law parlance, this means that opposing counsel filed the divorce case but now wants to add another cause of action. Just by way of simple analogy, think in terms of a criminal case where the defendant is charged with kidnapping but the prosecution later adds a charge of murder. In that hypothetical, the prosecution is seeking something more, namely a conviction and punishment. In the family law context, it means the other spouse (through their attorney) is asking to address the matter of the marital home (as you astutely mentioned). The law is fairly straightforward and there is not a ton to read if you want to review it for yourself: Florida Statutes Chapter 64. Only the Court can enter an Order actually touching the issue of property, of course. In other words, the mere filing does not mean the other spouse will prevail. Rather, it simply alerts you that they are seeking something new and not mentioned in the original divorce Petition.
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So, the word "partition" refers always to a marital home, when used in Divorce Law? And the petitioner is accusing me of something related to that, like I am being charged with a "crime" involving the marital home? The exact words were, "... It is my desire to amend our Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to allege a count for partition. Please let me know if you will agree to that amendment or if a hearing will be required."
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QUESTION: "So, the word "partition" refers always to a marital home, when used in Divorce Law?"
ANSWER: No. If you and your spouse jointly own other property, it could refer to such realty. In the great majority of cases, however, folks only own their marital home and the cause of action pertains to it. If you folks do own other property, only by reading the actual amended Petition and seeing the address or property description will you know for certain to what property opposing counsel refers. Otherwise, it means your marital home.
QUESTION: "And the petitioner is accusing me of something related to that, like I am being charged with a "crime" involving the marital home?"
ANSWER: No. There is not the slightest hint of a criminal accusation. I used that example just for the sake of illustration. I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX any confusion. The only way to actually know precisely what relief is being sought and on what basis is to have your lawyer (if represented) carefully review the amended Petition and any other live pleadings in the case.
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Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX more clarification: We ALREADY SOLD for a huge loss--$1,000,000 -- our primary family home in MD, and now we have a second small condo in FL, that I am currently residing in. Does this mean they want to claim this house as HIS alone? Or kick me out? Or, demand it be sold? SO, since the first house was sold under my duress, at such a loss, can they only be referring to the last piece of real estate we own -- this condo-- or other property, like cars, etc.?
QUESTION: "Does this mean they want to claim this house as HIS alone? Or kick me out? Or, demand it be sold?"
ANSWER: I am sorry to say so, but without the pleadings in front of me, I just have no way to know the mind of your opponent. Think of it like this, perhaps. I tell you I have received a notice that a newspaper article will be sent to me. I ask you to tell me the contents of that article. You have no way of knowing, without seeing it, so the best you can do is provide me with a general description of what a newspaper article is. Likewise, here all that can be done at this juncture is to say that the other side is seeking "something" in terms of relief touching realty, but nothing else is known.
QUESTION: "SO, since the first house was sold under my duress, at such a loss, can they only be referring to the last piece of real estate we own -- this condo-- or other property, like cars, etc.?"
ANSWER: Yes. Meaning, already sold real property is not at stake. Likewise, personal property or personalty (including vehicles) is not at stake. So, that means whatever real estate pertains to the marital estate is the only possible subject of the proposed partition action.
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