Here is some basic information on partition actions.
What is a partition action? This type of litigation is a special proceeding filed with the Clerk of Court when multiple property owners (more than 1) own a property and disagree how to handle the property.
What type of disagreement? Perhaps one owner wants to sell. In another situation, one owner wants to divide the property and not own it undivided. In another, the parties desire different uses for the property (eg. farming vs. developing).
What determines partition (or division of the property) vs. selling the whole tract? Can the property be divided without “substantial injury” to the interested parties.
After filing the petition and serving all the owners, the Court will hold a hearing and determine whether it can be divided or will need to be sold.
A commissioner or commissioners will be appointed to handle the sale of division. The commissioners are empowered to order a survey and division of the property. If it’s to be sold, the commissioners will determine the method of sale (real estate agent, auction, court house auction, etc.).
Where is venue? The action will be filed in the North Carolina county where some or all of the property is located.
Can a life tenant be joined? Yes, if the life estate tenant agrees. A life estate tenant cannot bring a partition proceeding alone.
Can a judgment creditor bring an action? Yes, a judgment creditor can bring a partition action and join the other cotenants or joint tenants, divide the land, then sell the tract owned by the judgment debtor. 46-5
What if unknown parties exist or may exist? If tenants are unknown by due diligence, the court will allow publication of notice.
After a sale in lieu of partition, the high bidder will purchase after the order of confirmation of sale.
There are also additional disputes as to who is allotted how much of the sale or division of the land.
There can also be partitions of personal property (think: Yachts). If it’s worth enough to bring the action, it can be partitioned.
Call Kirk Sanders at 336-723-7200 to discuss your NC. It's relatively painless and more or less a simple form of litigation for those that have handled these cases previously. I have.
Here's the statutes on partitions in Chapter 46 https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByChapter/Chapter_46.pdf