When Gladiators Divorce

Actor Russell Crowe has filed for divorce, and will auction off his jewelry, mementos and other property. Will selling his assets before the divorce has ended maximize his property division, or will he be eating crow?

Enter the Coliseum

According to Australian news, Sotheby’s Australia will host an auction titled “The Art of Divorce” in which 227 different items from Russell Crowe’s private life will go up for sale.

The auction will take place on April 7, on what would have been his 15th wedding anniversary.

Rare movie memorabilia will be in the auction including:

  • The armor from Gladiator as Maximus will go under the hammer. The armor is expected to fetch $30,000, while a sword used in the film could sell for $4000.
  • A working chariot from the set of Gladiator will sell for between $5000 and $10,000.
  • A 2001 Mercedes, valued between $15,000 and $25,000, is also in the lot, along with two motorcycles that could command top dollar.

According to Crowe:

Divorce has its way of making you really examine the things that are essential in life — and the things that are not

Through the process I had a look around and realized I had a lot of stuff. Career stuff, stuff I’ve collected, and stuff in general. Boxes and boxes of stuff … so in the spirit of moving forward into fresh air, here’s a portion of that collection of stuff.

Although news reports are unclear whether the auction of the assets are planned in cooperation with his soon to be ex-wife, or his own, generally people should be cautious selling property after filing for divorce.

Florida Property Division

In Florida, courts distribute marital assets and liabilities between the parties with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution. I’ve written about various aspects of property division before.

Marital assets are properties acquired and debts incurred during the marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly by them.

Marital assets and liabilities also include the enhancement in value and appreciation of non-marital assets resulting either from the efforts of either party during the marriage.

Dissipation and Waste

One of the relevant factors courts look to in property division is whether one of the parties intentionally dissipated, wasted, depleted, or destroyed any of the marital assets after the filing of the petition.

Spouses can dissipate assets by giving away money irresponsibly, spending money on girlfriends, gambling losses, and drug usage. Some people would rather lose the money outright than split it with their spouses.

If the dissipation of an asset resulted from misconduct, the question is whether a spouse used marital funds for his own benefit unrelated to the marriage at a time when the marriage was undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown.

Misconduct is not mismanagement, or even a simple squandering of marital assets in a manner of which the other spouse disapproves.

Instead, there has to be evidence of the spending spouse’s intentional dissipation or destruction of the asset. Where marital misconduct results in a depletion or dissipation of marital assets, it can serve as a basis for unequal division.

Alternatively, courts can look at the misconduct, and can assign to the spending spouse as part of their equitable distribution, the misconduct losses.

As the Crowe Flies

The Crowes separated in 2012, share two sons, and their divorce should be finalized around the time of the auction.

Just as we collaborate on the upbringing of our kids, it’s easy for us to work together on something like this.

There are a lot of unknowns about Crowe’s planned auction, but he is fully embracing his breakup. Crowe’s been Instagramming and tweeting about the auction, even responding to curious fans.

It’s unclear if the earnings will go toward Crowe’s divorce settlement or a charity. A request for comment from his rep wasn’t immediately returned.

The Australian news article is here.