Dividing Season Tickets and Other Entertainment-Related Assets in Divorce
The variety of items married couples accumulate is often large and expansive, with each spouse typically holding a stronger attachment for certain things over others. Some items are purchased, while other items may come through a gift or sheer chance. Deciding how to divide these items in divorce creates the potential for considerable conflict. Certain assets may be easily identifiable as belonging to the marital estate; however, others, which may be highly valued, are easy to miss. One example of these less-obvious marital assets are season tickets for sporting events, concerts, theater and other entertainment-related occasions.
Typically, one spouse frequently holds particularly strong feelings about keeping certain tickets to the exclusion of the other party. Even if a spouse is not interested in keeping a season ticket package personally, he or she may still be entitled to portion of the value if the item qualifies as a marital asset. Various factors can affect how these types of assets are divided, including issues related to valuation.
Considerations for Options to Divide Tickets
The easiest and most direct way to divide any marital asset is to sell the property and split the proceeds. However, season tickets holders are typically against such action, and instead desire to retain rights over the tickets to the fullest possible extent. Further, even if both parties agree to sell the tickets to a new owner, the terms of the contract that govern the use and ownership of tickets from the issuing team or company may restrict or prohibit transfers and sales. Season tickets to professional sporting events often have limitations of this type that affect the sale and transfer of certain tickets, and this consideration obviously affects the spouses’ options when looking to settle property division.
Instead of selling the tickets outright, one spouse could opt to buy out the other party’s share, or if neither spouse wants to completely give up rights, they could split the tickets, so each have an opportunity to attend. Spouses are best served by making these decisions privately, as they can find a solution that works for them, and are not subject to a decision from a Court that could leave both parties feeling dissatisfied. If the spouses simply cannot agree, a Court will decide the issue using equitable distribution to determine what division would be most fair. Factors a Court may look at include:
- Who used the tickets most often;
- Who lives closest to the venue; and
- Which spouse is better situated to buy new tickets.
Valuing the Asset
Calculating an accurate fair market value for season tickets, or any marital asset, is central to arriving at fair plan for division. The problem, though, is valuing assets of this type can be tricky and can vary greatly year to year, even over the course of one year. Also, the way in which the tickets were used, such as for client wooing or sold to third parties at a profit, can also impact valuation since the benefit derived could exceed the value on the open market.
Hiring a valuator with experience pricing these types of assets is essential to knowing what the viable options are. Further, for purposes of divorce, the value of a marital asset is set as of the time the divorce is granted. Thus, if the parties are anxious about getting the marriage dissolved, and request to settle property division at a later date, the value of marital assets is tied to the date of dissolution, not the resolution of asset distribution. The implication of this rule is that any event that happens after the date of divorce, which affects an asset’s value, will not affect the value according to the Court.
Talk to an Illinois Divorce Attorney
Getting a fair share of mutually-owned property in a divorce is a crucial issue that should be guided by an experienced Barrington divorce attorney. Knowing what a fair division should be may not be easy, and a divorce attorney can assess your circumstances to better ensure you receive the appropriate amount. Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. represents divorcing clients in the Palatine area, and is ready to protect your interests during a divorce. Contact the law firm for a free initial consultation.