Surprising Assets That Divorcing Spouses Have Fought Over In Property Division

Our Arizona Divorce Attorneys Look At Some Of The Most Bizarre Assets Fought Over In Divorce

Divorces are known for being drawn out, dramatic disputes over issues like child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. While some states use equitable division, Arizona is a community property state when it comes to property division. That means that if a divorce proceeds to trial in Arizona, the judge will split all assets and debts acquired during the marriage equally, or as close to equally as possible, between the two spouses. Debts and assets acquired before the marriage, or during the marriage through gift or inheritance, are considered that respective spouse’s separate property and will not be considered during property division. 

When it comes to property division, you’ve probably heard of spouses who have fought over houses, cars, boats, furniture, and other valuables. But some couples have unconventional values, and therefore highly value unconventional assets. Here are some of the strangest items that divorcing spouses have argued about in divorce court. 

divorcing couple with separate property thanks to My AZ Lawyers

Things That Have Been Fought Over In Divorce Proceedings

A Kidney

When a husband and wife take marriage vows, they swear to love each other in sickness and in health. But apparently some spouses take the inverse of that seriously. In 2001, Long Island surgeon Dr. Richard Batista gave his wife Dawnell a kidney. Four years later, Dawnell filed for divorce, citing infidelity and domestic violence. Richard hired an expert to appraise the value of the kidney he gave his estranged wife, who estimated the value to be about $1.5 million. Richard argued that Dawnell should either pay him over $1 million, or return the kidney. The Nassau County Supreme Court rejected Richard’s arguments, letting Dawnell keep the kidney without deducting its estimated value from her share of the marital estate. 

A Nickname

For the average person, a nickname doesn’t have any monetary value. But when you’re a celebrity as iconic as David Hasselhoff, the right to use your nickname could actually be valuable. The German actor had a contemptuous divorce from ex-wife Pamela Bach, but eventually won the right to his nickname “The Hoff,” as well as the slogan “Don’t Hassle the Hoff.” 

Beanie Babies

Many people have seen the image of Frances and Harold Mountain squatting on the floor of a courtroom before a giant pile of beanie babies, or collectible stuffed animals that were all the rage to collect in the 1990s. When they filed for divorce in Los Angeles in 1999, they estimated their collection to be worth somewhere between $2,500 and $5,000. Because they couldn’t agree on how to divide the collection by themselves, the judge had them split the collection in court, leading to laughter from those observing. A beanie baby named Maple the Bear was the first chosen from the pile. 

A Nobel Prize

While Nobel Prize recipients are innovative pioneers at the top of their fields, they might not exactly be geniuses when it comes to divorce negotiations. In 1919, Albert Einstein divorced his first wife, Mileva Maric. It is rumored that Maric, also a scientist, helped Einstein develop some theories for which he is so famous. Regardless of the truth behind that rumor, Einstein agreed to give Maric and their two sons his prize money from a Nobel Prize. However, he wasn’t awarded the prize until 1921, two years after their divorce. Robert Lucas, an economist, made a similar decision when he divorced his wife in 1988. He agreed to give her half of any Nobel Prize winnings he should receive in the future. So when he won in 1995, he had to fork over half of it to his ex-wife. 

Ice Cream

In 2013, an Indian divorce court issued an unusual divorce award. When an Indian businessman divorced his wife after 23 years, citing that she wasted too much money on ice cream, the judge didn’t exactly take his side. The wife was awarded alimony of $1,300 per month, with an extra $2.50 per month added to support the wife’s ice cream habit. 

Half Of The House

When a spouse going through a divorce says they’re getting “half of the house,” they usually mean half of its sale proceeds or a check for their share in the home. But sometimes, divorcing spouses who want half of the house means it quite literally. In 2008, a couple in Cambodia got divorced after 18 years of marriage. Because the house was made of wood, relatives came together to actually saw the house in half so that each spouse could have their own half after the divorce. A judge in Spain similarly ordered two spouses to split their 2,700 square foot apartment with a barrier to reduce costs and make co-parenting their daughter more convenient. 

Blankets

Michael Moore is a documentary filmmaker, best known for Fahrenheit 9/11 and other documentaries that question the establishment and capitalism. Despite making films that vilified rich men, Michael and his wife Kathleen were in the midst of building their tenth shared home when they broke up. With the divorce exposing their $50 million estate, Michael’s attorneys decided to try to blame the excessive spending, and in turn the divorce, on Kathleen. At one point in the divorce, experts were hired to appraise her quilt collection. 

An Exercise Bike

If you have a modest income and a high-quality exercise bike, this may be one of your most prized possessions. But when you’re a multimillionaire movie star, or his wife, a piece of exercise equipment is just a drop in the bucket of a marital estate. Dennis Hopper was in the middle of a divorce from his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy, when he passed away in 2010. Despite receiving a $40 million settlement from the divorce, Duffy continued to fight for specific and seemingly random items from his children and heirs. These included an exercise bike, asparagus tongs, rose bushes, a juicer, and a butcher’s block. The market value of these items is less than $1,000. 

Contact Our Arizona Divorce Lawyers for Assistance

If you’re considering filing for divorce, you could unexpectedly end up spending time and attorney’s fees fighting over random items you assumed would be yours. That’s why you need a divorce attorney who is a seasoned professional, but also charges reasonable rates. For a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Arizona divorce lawyers, call or use our online form to get scheduled today.

 

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