A court referee, also known as a court-appointed court referee or a partition referee, is a neutral third party appointed by the courts with the primary purpose of dividing or selling real or personal property. A judge, as a representative of the court, often appoints the court referee to take charge of cases involving the following:
● Family Disputes
● Partnership Disputes
● Spousal Disputes
● Missing Ownership
In many of these cases and according to CCP 873.010 (a) “The court shall appoint a referee to divide or sell the property as ordered by the court.” According to CCP 873.210 The referee is “appointed through an interlocutory judgment.”
The court-appointed court referee, according to CCP 873.060, “may perform any acts necessary to exercise the authority conferred by this title or by order of this court.” The actions taken by the court referee include, but are not limited to:
● Hiring Real Estate Agents
● Signing Listing Agreements
● Employing an Attorney (with Court Approval)
● Signing a Purchase Contract
● Signing Deeds
● Signing Closing Paperwork
It is the duty of the court-appointed court referee to ensure that all processes are fulfilled to the best of their ability.
What is a Partition Action, as It Pertains to a Court Referee / Partition Referee?
One of the primary duties of a court referee is that of a partition action. A partition action is a lawsuit initiated by a co-owner of real or personal property asking the court to assist in the division of the asset. Partition actions originated with large real estate holdings having multiple owners. The owners asked the courts to help divide the property equally among the parties.
Today, partition actions encompass a wide variety of real estate holdings in the form of:
● Community Property
● Joint Tenancy
● Tenancy in Common
● Community Property
A proper business approach is needed to ensure that any potential challenges are handled in the most pragmatic manner and the best interest of all parties is taken into account. A seasoned professional with experience in dealing with lenders, tax accountants, CPAs, banks, and other financial institutions is critical to achieving the best possible outcomes for all parties involved in the court action.