Judgment Creditors can petition for sale of real property where debtor is a co-tenant

Can a judgment creditor sell land that is owned by judgment debtor and another party?

Answer: yes

Caveat/Exception: if the co-owner is a spouse and the property is held as tenants by the entirety (meaning the deed is titled as [Judgment Debtor] “and spouse” [X]). If it’s tenants by the entirety and the judgment is only against one spouse, then you can’t do a partition.

The Judgment creditor’s next step is to file a petition for partition sale.

A partition action in NC is to sell real property where it’s held by two or more property owners. Either the property is divided (partitioned) or where it can be divided (example: a single lot in a subdivision with one house on it), it can be ordered sold.

Below is the statute in the North Carolina General Statutes:

§ 46-5.  Petition by judgment creditor of cotenant; assignment of homestead.

When any person owns a judgment duly docketed in the superior court of a county wherein the judgment debtor owns an undivided interest in fee in land as a tenant in common, or joint tenant, and the judgment creditor desires to lay off the homestead of the judgment debtor in the land and sell the excess, if any, to satisfy his judgment, the judgment creditor may institute before the clerk of the court of the county wherein the land lies a special proceeding for partition of the land between the tenants in common, making the judgment debtor, the other tenants in common and all other  interested persons parties to the proceeding by summons. The proceeding shall then be in all other respects conducted as other special proceedings for the partition of land between tenants in common. Upon the actual partition of the land the judgment creditor may sue out execution on his judgment, as allowed by law, and have the homestead of the judgment debtor allotted to him and sell the excess,  as in other cases where the homestead is allotted under execution. The remedy provided for in this section shall not deprive the judgment creditor of any other remedy in law or in equity which he may have for the enforcement of his judgment lien.

The Sanders Law Firm, PLLC handles partition sales and other litigation. Call 336-724-4707