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Can I Keep All The Wine In A Divorce?


Do you have a collection of fine wines? If so, you may have one additional worry on your list of divorce-related stresses. Divorce involves dissolving your life with another person, and that includes your shared possessions, collections, and collectibles. Art, fine wine, and antiques that were acquired during the marriage must all be divided during a divorce. This can be particularly stressful if you own a wine collection that is worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. If this is the case for you, you may be wondering how your wine collection will be treated in a divorce and whether you will get to keep it.

Is A Wine Collection Marital Property?

The most fundamental question at the heart of the equitable distribution process is whether the property is a separate or marital asset. Separate assets are generally assets owned by either spouse prior to the marriage, while marital property encompasses any property acquired during the marriage, with some exceptions. In most cases, a wine collection will be considered marital property if it was collected during the marriage. However, some bottles from the collection may be classified as separate property if they were owned by either spouse prior to the marriage, gifted by a third-party to either spouse before or during the marriage, or were inherited by either spouse.

How is Wine Divided in a Divorce?

The parties to the divorce have the first opportunity to decide how the wine will be divided. They may also have help from a mediator or lawyers in negotiating the distribution of their assets, including their wine collection. It will be important in this process to know the value of the collection, so you may need to have the collection appraised or settle mutually on a value. Once you know the value of the collection, you may be able to buy the collection from your spouse or trade them another asset that is approximately the same value. If the collection cannot be valued accurately or you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement, the court may liquidate the collection and split the proceeds between you. The proceeds will be split based on what percentage the judge determined was fair to allocate to each spouse. If you want to ensure that your collection is not sold, it will be important to try and reach an agreement with your spouse, even as to the value of the collection, so that this will not be necessary. If you have not yet filed for divorce, it is a good idea to consider a prenuptial agreement that specifies that the wine collection will be treated as separate property. If you have a pre-existing agreement, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the court will simply enforce it.

Schedule a Consultation with Bubley & Bubley, P.A. Today

If you are going through a Tampa divorce, it’s important to have a dedicated attorney on your side to protect your assets and interests. Contact the Tampa divorce lawyers at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. today to schedule a consultation.



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