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This week Vikki heads Ft. Lauderdale to help Stuart and Iret untangle their marriage. They have been married for 28 years and have three children. Although they got married because she was pregnant, they didn’t start having trouble until about four years ago. Stuart travels six months out of the year for business and although Iret is taken care of financially, she is missing any kind of emotional comfort from Stuart. In the end, she’s not sure if she ever loved him.
They begin to go through the list of items in dispute. First up is the house. It was purchased 25 years ago, for $150,000. Today Stuart assumes it is worth $300,000.
Iret wants to keep the house until their children are completely grown and ready to move out. Their youngest is 16 and she thinks she’ll need about 5 or 6 years. Stuart wants to sell the house and have the equity split between them.
The baseball card collection is the next item on the list. Stuart claims that his uncle gave it to him and the purchase price was about $245. They are all first edition cards in mint condition, the oldest being about 30 years old. Stuart estimates it is worth $1000-$1500. Iret wants to split the value of the collection and Stuart says not a chance. Another collection in the dispute is the Judaica collection that is part inherited and part purchased.
All of the pieces are rare and unique and Iret assumes they are worth around $30,000. She wants to keep them for sentimental reasons. Stuart is turned off emotionally saying if it’s worth money, he wants a piece of it. The next item is a Dorothea Lange photograph. They estimate it at around 80 years old and it was a gift from Iret’s sister. Again Iret says the piece has sentimental value and she wants it. Stuart believes it was gifted to both of them and he wants a part of it also.
It’s time for the appraisal part of the mediation and the Millea Brothers enter the picture. They take a look at the Judaica collection. Right away they see that most of the collection seems to be a mixture of tchotchkes and nicer things. The item that seems most of value is the torah pointer. There is a ton of detail in the design and there are hallmarks that tell them it’s probably an 18th century piece. The baseball collection is up next. First the Millea brothers notice that what Stuart has are factory sets, which aren’t as rare as the individual pieces so they might not be worth much. Moving on to the Dorothea Lange photograph, the brothers say that having a date on the picture is a good start. However collectors are looking for iconic symbols of what Lange was known for and this piece is a studio shot and doesn’t have those symbols.
Back in New Jersey, the Millea brothers meet up with Vikki to discuss their findings. As expected, they reveal that there is no real value in the baseball card collection, only about $250. They say value is tied to rarity and these box sets are widely available. The other collection, the Judaica items, are valued at about $4500 with the highlight being the torah pointer. They value the pointer at $4000. The photograph isn’t the most unique of Dorothea Lange’s work, however it is still done by the famous photographer so the brothers value it at $5250. Vikki believes her real problem with the photograph is determining if it was gifted to just Iret or to the couple together.
The last step in mediation is for Vikki to reveal her decisions to Iret and Stuart. Vikki is nervous about this couple because they don’t communicate or seem to have emotion for each other at all. She’s ready for some fighting as she jumps into her decisions. Starting off with the Judaica collection, Vikki breaks the news that it’s not worth anywhere near the $30,000 the couple thought. She tells them that the pointer is the most valuable at $4000 and it is awarded to Stuart. It’s been in his family for decades and should stay there. However, Iret will receive the rest of the collection for sentimental value. Amazingly, Iret seems happy with this.
The baseball collection is the next bomb to drop. Vikki explains that it’s only worth $250 and isn’t very rare. Stuart receives the collection because he loved them. Iret is upset because she believes she’s the one that’s been taking care of them all these years, but Vikki quickly moves on to the Dorothea Langes photograph. She gifts the photograph to Iret because it was passed down from her sister and it shouldn’t be considered a marital asset. It’s compared to the Judaica pointer that Stuart received. Stuart doesn’t agree, but he is willing to accept the decision.
The last item is the big-ticket item of the house. Vikki tells the couple that it is worth $300,000 or more. They are both entitled to half of the equity. However the problem is that Iret doesn’t want to sell until the kids are ready to move out. Vikki’s compromise is that they keep the house for two more years when their youngest will be 18 and on his own. At that time if Iret can afford to buy Stuart out, she can. If not, they sell the property and split the profits 50/50.
Stuart agrees to this but Iret shakes her head into a hard no. She believes she and the kids are getting kicked out. Vikki explains that she has two years to save money or find a new place. She is not getting kicked out. Stuart believes Iret just wants to live some place without paying rent for as long as she can. Vikki pushes hard for this resolution as she sees it as the key to splitting up amicably.
In the end, Iret agrees. They are both extremely appreciative to Vikki for keeping things fair. Vikki is happy that they can part and the animosity between the two can finally die down.