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Celebrity Family Law Update – Frances Bean Cobain

A previous blog discussed the divorce of Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of Courtney Love and the late Kurt Cobain, as it relates to the large inheritance Frances received from her late father. Though her inheritance is separate property and, thus, her estranged husband, Isaiah Silva, is not entitled to receive any part of it, the same may not be said for any gifts Frances gave to Silva during the course of their marriage. In their divorce action, Silva is claiming that Frances gave him one of her father's guitars as a wedding present. Frances Bean Cobain: It's War…Ex Wants Kurt's 'Unplugged' Guitar, by TMZ Staff, July 6, 2016, tmz.com. Frances denies giving him the guitar and the parties are set for a battle - not only is the guitar a "holy grail for Nirvana fans," it is reportedly worth several million dollars.

So how will a Judge determine who gets the guitar? The determinative issue here is whether the guitar was a gift. If the Judge determines that Frances gave Silva the guitar as a gift, then he gets to keep it free and clear. If the Judge determines that she did not give it to him as a gift, then she gets to keep it, as it was a part of her inheritance from her father.

Since the parties disagree on this issue, they will each have to present evidence to back up their case. The strongest evidence would be any writing about the guitar. For example, if Frances wrote Silva a card accompanying the guitar wherein she mentioned that she was giving it to him, this would be strong evidence in his favor. Conversely, if there was a card from Frances telling Silva he could play the guitar whenever he wanted, but no mention of gifting, this would weigh heavily in her favor. Unfortunately for both parties, however, there is likely no written evidence on this issue, so it will come down to their testimony as well as that of any friends/family with information on the issue. In the end, it will come down to who the Judge believes to be more credible.

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