Will divorce auctions catch on?
The world of celebrity divorces can be littered with bizarre stories as to what the parties got up to during their marriage and how they have handled their divorce. The latest example is a celebrity who has decided to make some money out of his divorce. Film star Russell Crowe decided to hold a high profile ‘divorce auction’ in Sydney in order to in his words “unburden himself” of personal possessions and film memorabilia and move “forward into fresh air”. This follows his recent divorce from his now ex-wife Danielle Spencer.
The five hour event took place on the actor’s 54th birthday (which would have also been his 15th wedding anniversary) and was entitled The Art of Divorce. The event attracted major interest, especially from film fans given the number of props and memorabilia on offer. The most popular lots consisted of memorabilia from the 2000 film Gladiator directed by Ridley Scott. Russell Crowe’s character wore an embossed breastplate that is reported to have sold for $125,000 (£68,000). The evening’s biggest price tags were reserved, however, for the actor’s collection of modern art. One piece, a painting by Australian artist Charles Blackman called The Suitor, sold for no less than $360,000 (£195,304).
All in all he is reported to have made AU $3.7m (£2.1m) from the event. In the meantime for ordinary people going through a divorce, whilst it might be tempting to auction off any unwanted possessions or items which remind them of their relationship, this is something which is unlikely to be the norm for most cases. If a spouse is considering doing this in order to make some extra funds, it is a plan best kept until well after the divorce has been finalised in order to avoid any accusations by the other party of disposing of property or assets. Until matters are well and truly finalised it is important to keep all household contents of the former matrimonial home in good working order and not dispose of any item until an agreement has been reached on ownership.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.