Although several others have already answered this question, allow me to provide a unique perspective on question: that of a Wisconsin attorney familiar with Wisconsin's partition law. Wisconsin's partition statute is Ch. 842, Wis. Stats.
To answer your question, a judge is authorized (he/she may or may not) to award compensation by one party to the other for equality of partition, according to the equity of the case. In other words, you may be able to receive from your sibling compensation for your taxes paid, improvements, and "sweat equity" if the judge believes that fairness requires it.
An attorney would be able to represent you in the partition action and advocate for this compensation.
"Costly" is a relative term. You should contact a Wisconsin attorney to discuss costs and fees for a partition action in light of the complexity of your case.
The foregoing is intended to merely provide additional information to the individual posting the question and to anyone reading the question and/or answers provided. There is no specific legal advice provided. Specific advice cannot be given without first forming an attorney/client relationship. This informational answer is not legal advice, and should not be relied on, since it is impossible to appropriately evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.
The partition issue depends on the jurisdiction. In California where I practice a partition costs upwards of $20,000 because of governmental requirements that the property owner have a civil engineer survey the property, get environmental reports, get a detailed survey of any plants or animals on the endangered list, obtain clearance from the fire and police departments, etc. In other jurisdictions, it is much easier. As to reimbursement, the taxes and improvements are fairly easy to document if you have kept good records and should be reimbursed as to the half that benefitted your sibling. As to sweat equity, that is harder to prove and may be considered by the judge to be a voluntary contribution on your part that is not reimbursable. Check with your local building department as to the cost of and requirements for partition.
What Jurisdiction is this?
IF you paid the costs in good faith, the Judge will likely allow you to be reimbursed.
Bob, Robert L. Brenna, Jr. No relationship is intended, agreed upon or accepted by answering this general question Brenna Brenna and Boyce PLLC Rochester, New York firstname.lastname@example.org
Make a contract with the thers in advance.
Please remember to designate your question's BEST ANSWER.
Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.