One of the biggest issues to resolve in a divorce is division of marital assets. Marital assets include houses, cars, bank accounts and personal property such as furniture and other household items. Often it is the big-ticket items such as houses and bank accounts that spouses argue over. From time to time, however, the smaller personal property items are actually what stand in the way of a divorce settlement. Sometimes this is because the items have such sentimental value that neither party is willing to part with them. Other times, the personal property itself is actually the most valuable asset of the marriage.
Annie Apple, mother of NFL star Eli Apple, and her former husband Tim Apple (who was not Eli’s real father but has been in his life for 16 years during which Eli took his last name) have both laid claim to Eli’s football memorabilia that was in the family home. Eli Apple’s Mom: War Over NFL Star’s NCAA Rings…After Nasty Divorce, tmz.com, September 25, 2017. The parties divorced in June, but apparently did not work out division of personal property in the divorce proceedings. Annie went to the family home to retrieve Eli’s football memorabilia specifically championship rings, but Tim refused to give it to her, claiming “Eli gifted them to Tim as a thank-you for helping him get a scholarship to OSU.” Though police were present, Annie eventually left without the rings.
Unfortunately for Eli, he is going to have to get involved to help determine who should get the rings. The initial presumption will be that the rings belong to Eli since he was the one who earned them. Under this presumption, they are not a marital asset at all but, rather, Eli’s property that he left in the house when he moved out. Accordingly, neither party would have a claim to them. However, if Eli did gift the rings to Tim, then the rings are his separate property, not subject to equitable division. It is unclear if Annie is also claiming the rings were gifted to her, or if she was just trying to get them back for Eli. Either way, the only way to get to the bottom of this is to hear from Eli regarding his intent and then award the rings accordingly.