When a couple separates, child custody and support are often the foremost issues. But property disputes are not far behind, and especially so if there are no children and you have been married for awhile. You want what’s yours, right? It may seem somewhat simplified in California, due to community property law. But deciding what is separate property versus community property can be a complicated matter. Moreover, even if something is easily identified as joint property, it may not be so easy to split evenly. With that in mind, let’s take a look at three property disputes that got somewhat out of hand.
Last month a divorcing couple fought over Cubs tickets. The husband had purchased the tickets as part of a season-ticket package prior to the divorce filings. Nancy Riddle actually filed an Emergency Petition to stake her claim on her ticket for the Game 4 World Series contest between the Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. The judge upheld a court ruling awarding tickets to the husband and their pre-teen John Riddle. However, he did order the Riddle husband to pay for a replacement ticket for his estranged wife in a section comparable to the seats he held. Tickets were starting at $3,000. Despite the hubbub over the unique Cubs situation regarding the World Series, the husband’s lawyer argued that the ticket issue did not rise to the level of an emergency.
The Family Pet
To you, your pet is probably a member of your family. But to the courts, pets are property. So, deciding where your dog, cat, bird, or other pet is going to live after the divorce can quickly become an unhappy battle. Joint custody for pets is not going to happen by way of a California court ruling. But a few years ago, when a same sex couple divorcing couldn’t agree on who would get their dog, lower court Judge Cooper did hold a hearing over the matter. But in the end, the two estranged spouses worked it out on their own. A good rule of thumb for all.
$20 Million Court Settlement
When Melissa Sanders-Rivera and Juan Rivera decided to divorce, they had a particularly big asset to squabble over – a $20 million court settlement for Juan’s wrongful imprisonment. Juan served 20 years in prison on a rape and murder conviction that was eventually vacated due to DNA evidence. Melissa married Juan while he was in prison and they remained married for 14 years, 12 of which occurred while he was incarcerated. An appeals court has ruled the settlement money as marital property. A final decision on distribution of the money is still pending.
The value of the property you and your husband hold when you divorce is not always the main point. Sentimental value can lead to disagreements, as well as a desire to hurt the other party or to “win” the battle. If you are worried about a property dispute in your divorce, contact a knowledgeable family law attorney to obtain valuable guidance through this potential minefield. Before You Leave, Call Steve!
Sources: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sports/chicago-cubs-tickets-divorce-399113721.html, http://www.kansascity.com/news/nation-world/national/article75041147.html, http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/couple-fights-over-millions-he-won-for-wrongful-imprisonment/