Common Grantor is a doctrine used in land subdivision situations which basically suggests that the way that the land is actually used is more indicative of ownership than that which is recorded between the original, full parcel owner (i.e. grantor) and the subdivided parcel purchaser (i.e. grantee).
As a general vignette of boundary dispute law, this suggests that it is not so much that the law organizes and stamps its structure upon a situation from above, than it acknowledges the facts of the situation below (i.e. that which is happening on the ground).
Common Grantor bascially requires that the grantor and grantee together establish a boundary line which a subsequent purchaser would reasonably believe to be the true boundary.
What’s the burden of proof for common grantor? As far as I am concerned, its up for argumentation. Is the Statutory Period of Adverse Possession required? Not sure about that one either. In other words, a lot of this doctrine still hasn’t been worked out.
But, if there is anything that can be said for it as an attorney, it is this: if the land in question was once owned by only one party, why not just throw it in?
Afterall, our job as attorneys isn’t the pursuit of justice. We do what we do because we get sqeamish around blood and our ability to count is limited to 10. (This is of course because we don’t dare take our wingtip shoes off to reveal double that number … That’s too unrefined.) Hence, we do not take up the professions of doctor, accountant, or investment banker.
[Please do recognize that I am hurling both sarcasm and condescencion at those attorneys that think they can waltz into this practice area without doing their homework.]
Bottom line – if you subdivided property, even if for the harmless fact that you are giving a portion of your land to your kids, you had better make sure that you have a survey performed; stake out your boundary; and then demarcate it (ideally) with a fence.