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Kurt Cobain’s daughter loses his guitar in divorce settlement

On Behalf of | May 16, 2018 | Family Law |

Kurt Cobain was arguably the most influential musician of the 1990s — and his acoustic guitar is almost as famous.

That makes it all the more startling that it now belongs to the ex-husband of his daughter, Frances Bean.

The drama of the divorce and its eventual terms hold several lessons for anybody that takes a good look.

What happened?

The younger Cobain filed for divorce after just two years of marriage to her husband. While the divorce was fairly quick, the fight over the couple’s assets and spousal support continued for nearly six months after the marriage ended.

At issue were several large sticking points. First, Cobain didn’t want her spouse to receive any of her multimillion-dollar inheritance from her father’s estate. She claimed that as personal — not marital — property.

However, her spouse claimed that she gave him the singer’s acoustic guitar in better days. It was a birthday present, and he didn’t want to return it. (It is easily worth quite a few million dollars itself, so his interest may have been partially sentimental and partially financial.) Cobain denied making it a gift.

In addition, her ex-husband was also demanding spousal support of around $25,000 a month. That’s some pretty hefty support for a marriage that barely got out of the starting gate.

In the end, the younger Cobain decided to cede the guitar to her ex-spouse rather than continue the fight. Letting the guitar go allowed her to move on with her life because the court was willing to settle the other issues.

Her inheritance, like it would be for anybody else, was her own private property — not part of the marital estate. While he got the guitar, her ex-husband didn’t get any other part of her inheritance and he didn’t get spousal support.

While he’s technically a “disadvantaged spouse” because of the disparity between their financial statuses, it’s important to understand that economic disparities still don’t automatically end in spousal support. The courts usually look to justify the support in some way. It’s more likely to be awarded when one spouse has put a career on hold for the other, given up a career for the sake of the marriage or children or is unable to work for some reason — not simply because one spouse is really wealthy going into the marriage.

Source: Fox News, “Kurt Cobain’s daughter loses dad’s famed guitar in divorce,” Chelsea Hirsch, May 16, 2018