Splitting up property during a divorce can be an emotionally charged ordeal. Many physical items hold significance for their owners, and letting go of a treasured possession may make an already difficult process more cumbersome. Addressing property division in a prenuptial agreement is a smart choice for most Massachusetts couples. Otherwise, they might find themselves in a difficult position, like the one that Frances Bean Cobain recently handled.
Frances is the child of Courtney Love and the late Kurt Cobain. Frances was previously married to Isaiah Silva, a musician in the band, The Eeries. The couple originally filed for divorce back in 2016, and soon after entered into a heated debate over the ownership of one of Kurt's guitars. Kurt famously played the 1959 Martin D-18E guitar during a performance with his band, Nirvana, on MTV.
Silva claimed that he had received the guitar as a wedding present from Frances. Frances has denied ever gifting him the instrument, and was backed up by her mother. Love claimed that the guitar is a family heirloom that they would never part with. Silva kept possession of the guitar during the dispute, and in 2017 Frances filed documents with the court to reclaim the guitar. This apparently did not work in her favor, and a final property settlement left Silva in possession.
Many Massachusetts residents assume that family heirlooms will remain in their possession after a divorce, even if the property was shared, given to a spouse or otherwise commingled with joint assets. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Soon-to-be married individuals may want to consider utilizing a prenuptial agreement to clearly outline how property division will be handled in the event of a divorce. Otherwise, emotionally-significant possessions could be on the line.
Source: Spin, "Frances Bean Cobain's Ex-Husband Wins Nirvana MTV Unplugged Guitar in Divorce Settlement", Winston Cook-Wilson, May 15, 2018