Who Are the Special Commissioners in Partition

Who Are the Special Commissioners in Partition

Hi, I’m Philip Hundl. I’m an attorney in Texas. My practice area focuses on representing landowners facing land partition matters or eminent domain proceedings, condemnation proceedings by condemnors with the power of eminent domain.

We’re focusing on partitions, land partitions right now. And so we’re recently talking about the non-heir partitions. Remember we have chapters 23 and 23A. In Texas 23A is for partitions of heirs property. But right now we’re talking about non-heirs chapter 23 partitions.

And these would be partitions when less than 20% of the co-owners are related. Honestly that’s actually fairly rare. Because most of the land partitions are amongst family members. So that almost always now falls under 23A.

But if we’re dealing with just a normal 23 action, the first trial special commissioners are appointed. And now what? And so, this gets into the part that it varies from case to case on what the special commissioners, how they handle their job, how they do their job, what they do, and what the parties do, and what the lawyers do. And so, let’s talk a little bit about that.

I’ve had cases where we have outlined a procedure either by agreement amongst the attorneys or the court has set out the procedures for the special commissioners and the parties to get with the special commissioners.

And so oftentimes, you will set up a time to each side, and let’s just say there’s two separate sides. Each side to take the special commissioners out to the property to show the property to the special commissioners, and kind of explain the different attributes of the property that that co-owner thinks is important. And then the special commissioners will view the property, and then typically there’ll be a separate meeting.

Sometimes there’s a joint meeting of all parties with, if they have experts, appraisers, they’ll meet with the special commissioners all at once. That can be sometimes a little chaotic to say the least.

So I typically suggest one side meets with the special commissioners one day, and then another day the other side meets with the special commissioners. Your expert might be there, or at least your expert has prepared a report which indicates or shows your proposed partition and how it’s fair to all parties.

The special commissioners have an opportunity to ask a lot of questions to the parties, to the expert, to the lawyer, to get a better feel and understanding of the property and where you’re coming from with your proposed partition. So, that’s kind of the special commissioner’s procedure in evaluating the land.

Then the special commissioners issue a report on how they are saying the land should be divided. So, the final product from the special commissioners is a report of partition, which should follow the order from the court from the first trial. So hopefully that’s helpful.

Once again, partitions are very different, they’re very a different legal proceeding. Not all lawyers are very familiar with land partitions at all. So I always suggest getting with an attorney that is very familiar with land partitions. Good luck.