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Divorced couples' property finding new homes through auctions

With the rise of reality TV shows about auctions, it's somewhat surprising that there isn't already a show about a certain, surprising kind of auction: divorce auctions. If you are a fan of "Sex and the City," then you might have seen the movie that included an auction that a divorced woman put on to sell the jewelry she got from her ex-husband. It was a way for her to get rid of memories from her unhappy union and also put some money in her pocket after the split.

Though that's a fictional example of an auction, divorce auctions are not fiction for some couples. An owner of an auction house reports that he sees an increase divorce auctions when there is an increase in the divorce rate. Auctioning off property is an alternative way for couples to approach their property division process if other methods aren't working.

Why would a couple put their property up for sale at an auction? There are a few different reasons why some would turn to an auction house to help them with their division of property process:

  • A judge will sometimes order a squabbling couple to go the auction route if they otherwise cannot come to an agreement.
  • Going through item by item might be unappealing to divorcing parties; therefore, they would rather sell everything and split the money in a fair manner.
  • It's possible that neither divorcing party wants to hold on to the property from their unhappy marriage because the items are negative reminders of what was. Auctioning off the property allows them to get rid of the items while still getting monetary value out of them.

Some might suspect that divorce auctions wouldn't attract many bidders because they would see sadness in the situation or be superstitious. These are the days, however, when people are looking to find a good deal, either for them to keep or for them to buy and sell for profit. And why couldn't a divorce benefit more than a divorcing couple? An auction allows a couple to move on with their lives after divorce and bidders to find great deals on property that still deserves a good home despite its previous owners' split.

Source: Longmont Times-Call, "Some divorcing couples auction everything off and divide the cash," Aimee Heckel, April 28, 2012

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