Legal Memorandum: Actions for Partition in HI

Issue: Under Hawaiian law, in addition to an action for partition, what actions are available to a joint tenant who pays a disproportionate amount of the expenses of the property?

Area of Law: Real Estate Law
Keywords: Action for partition; Action for ejectment; Joint tenants
Jurisdiction: Hawaii
Cited Cases: 936 P.2d 655; 655 P.2d 881; 3 Haw. App. 555; 85 Haw. 19; 57 Haw. 195; 561 P.2d 1291; 73 Haw. 266
Cited Statutes: Hawaii Stat. § 668‑1, 604‑5, § 604‑6
Date: 08/01/2000

Hawaii Stat. § 668‑1 provides:

When two or more persons hold or are in possession of real property as joint tenants or as tenants in common, in which one or more of them have an estate in fee, or a life estate in possession, any one or more of such persons may bring an action in the circuit court of the circuit in which the property or some part thereof is situated, for a partition of the property, according to the respective rights of the parties interested therein, and for a sale of the same or a part thereof if it appears that a partition cannot be made without great prejudice to the owners. The several circuit courts shall have power, in any action for partition, to proceed according to the usual practice of courts of equity in cases of partition, and according to this chapter in enlargement thereof.

At least one case has described the right to partition as nearly absolute:

In jurisdictions where partition is provided for by statute, the general rule is:

Where a case is fairly brought within the law authorizing a partition, it is generally conceded that the right to partition is imperative and absolutely binding upon courts having jurisdiction of such proceeding, and they are not clothed with such […]

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