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Rock memorabilia auction underscores property division issues

A member of the classic rock band Rolling Stones has gone public with his shock after learning that some of his art and memorabilia had been put up for sale by his ex-wife. Among the most attractive memorabilia are some tour outfits worn during his performances as well as a Fender Stratocaster guitar.

The items are slated for auction next month.

This celebrity clash post-divorce highlights some of the complications that can arise through the division of assets in a divorce settlement. Even though property division is routinely outlined and decided prior to a divorce's conclusion, that doesn't mean conflicts might not arise down the road -- and not just among celebrities, but among Georgia divorcees as well.

Stones' guitarist Ronnie Wood and his former spouse Jo had been married for 24 years before finalizing their divorce in 2011. The musician claims to have had no involvement in the sale of the items, which he says are clearly his possessions. The sale is expected to fetch up to $500,000 in total.

If the sale is allowed to occur, the proceeds will go to a program called MusiCares, which is a charity that offers recovery assistance and resources to persons in the music industry.

Allegedly, the rocker had been offered a chance to participate in the sale, but he had declined to do so. He was alarmed to find out that the sale was going ahead despite his lack of approval or involvement.

Divorced or divorcing couples should always be aware that property -- whether homes, cars or smaller assets -- are liable to be sold by their ex-spouse if they can pass the items off as their own. Because recourse could be limited in some cases, it is best to restrict your spouse's access to these assets as a preventative measure and to work with a family law attorney with experience handling complex property division matters.

Source: BBC News, "Ronnie Wood denies involvement in Rolling Stones auction," Sept. 26, 2012

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