Probate & Trust Litigation

A resource for lawyers and the public in Massachusetts and New Hampshire for information on will contests, trust disputes, guardianships, conservatorships, elder exploitation, fiduciary duty claims, and other probate litigation disputes.

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NH Supreme Court Opinion on Jurisdiction in Partition Action

In David Loik v. Gloria Loik, the NH Supreme Court (MacDonald, J.) held that the Circuit Court, rather than the Superior Court, had subject matter jurisdiction over an action for partition of real estate, reasoning that certain post-divorce disputes involving the parties then pending in the Circuit Court – Family Division constituted “relating pending matter[s]” within the meaning of RSA 547-C:2.  In the opinion, the Court interpreted RSA 547-C:2, emphasizing the language underlined in the following excerpt, which serves to qualify the general rule that a partition action can be initiated in either court:

The superior and circuit courts share concurrent jurisdiction over petitions for partition of real estate pursuant to RSA chapter 547-C.  See RSA 547:3, II(e) (Supp. 2022).  RSA 547-C:2 (2019) allocates that jurisdiction as follows:

A petition may be filed by such person in the superior or probate court in the county in which the property or any part of the property lies or is then located . . . provided, however, where there is a related pending matter in either court, jurisdiction for the related partition action shall lie with the court having jurisdiction over the underlying matter . . . .

This decision underscores the importance of assessing the totality of the dispute between the parties in choosing where to bring a partition claim.

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