2021 is starting off with a big-time celebrity shake-up: Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West are getting divorced.
Indeed, according to Page Six, the A-list couple have finally called it quits after six years, four children, and who knows how many disagreements about where to spend their time, energy, and celebrity capital.
According to reports, Kardashian West is intent on continuing to work on her prison reform project, while West's political ambitions (including a fanciful bid for the Oval Office) have kept him rather busy, too. Another source says West has become increasingly frustrated with the Kardashian family's reality TV star lifestyle. Alas, there also seems to be the issue of West's mental state, which can test the strongest of unions.
But what inquiring minds really want to know is this: How will their massive real estate holdings be divided?
Jennifer Lenz, a real estate agent at Dolly Lenz Real Estate in New York City, has been privy to many high-profile splits and shares that divorce settlement details typically hinge on the prenups and other contractual obligations that were in place before the marriage.
"However, most prenup terms well exceed the final settlement in order to get a signoff on the divorce, and the properties are divvied up to avoid the appearance of a fire sale," she says.
For example, one billionaire couple that Lenz's firm worked with had a $10 million prenup, but the ex-wife was able to get a $60 million settlement to secure her signature—which included two homes and seed money to start her new business venture.
In the case with Kardashian West and West, however, money like this is probably no big object. Kardashian West is the richest of her famous family, and the couple's combined wealth exceeds $3 billion, which means dividing the properties they share might take on more meaning.
But California divorces sometimes turn out to be quite equitable as all assets acquired during the marriage are to be divided 50/50. In community property states, like California, division of homes purchased while together belong to both parties and are divided equally as well, says Bruce Ailion, a real estate agent in the Atlanta metro area.
So, looking at Kardashian West and West's biggest real estate assets, here's how we think the properties will be divided.
First up, the couple's mansion in the star-studded community of Hidden Hills in Los Angeles, which was purchased for $20 million in 2014. Kardashian West reportedly wants to own it outright since this is the one place their children are settled into and call home. It's also near her mother Kris Jenner's home and her sister Kourtney Kardashian's place.
"Courts want to minimize the impact of divorce on the couple's children, so often this means the custodial spouse will retain use of the marital residence," says Ailion.
The sticking point? It seems that Kardashian West owns the land in and around the house, but the actual structure belongs to her soon-to-be ex. Complicated!
The couple also reportedly poured a ton of cash (upward of $20 million) into an extensive renovation over the years. West engaged the exclusive Belgian designer Axel Vervoordt to handle the rehab and installed a completely white, monastic-style aesthetic throughout the home. Should Kardashian West take it over, it's possible she might rip out some of the cold marble and make it a bit homier.
"Since West oversaw the redesign and owns the home, a sensible compromise would be for him to keep it and for her to build on the surrounding land for herself and stay in the home via some type of rent-back until the project is done," says Cedric Stewart, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties in Washington, DC.
Somehow we just don't see Kardashian West feeling at home in a very remote part of Wyoming—so Monster Lake Ranch, purchased in fall 2019, seems to have West's name written all over it.
"The Wyoming property will go to Kanye as this is where he plans to build his technology, design, and innovation epicenter," says Stewart.
The spot, which features two houses, eight cabins, plus several barns and corrals for horses, will require a herculean effort to transform it into a livable space for a celebrity of West's level. Not only is the Wyoming ranch pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but transporting contractors and all the materials needed to build in a barren part of the country is a giant headache.
West's plans for this compound apparently include a 10-bedroom, 52,000 square-foot mansion and two 10,000-square-foot underground garages, which will likely run him into the $50 million range, according to real estate experts.
The upside for West: The spot is extremely quiet and private (no paparazzi for miles).
This fixer-upper ranch home isn't exactly posh, but it's directly next door to the couple's Hidden Hills compound, bringing their total property ownership in this area to 8 acres. They bought it in 2019 for $3 million and apparently had plans to create a guest compound here and live off the land, growing organic vegetables and fruit.
This property sports four bedrooms, a pool, and gardens, plus a horse barn and corral. Since this one is also close to some Kardashian family members, we bet it'll slide her way.
Last up, an undeveloped 2-acre parcel with a whopping price tag of $6.3 million. The plot was quietly purchased through a trust at the end of 2019.
Located two hours from Los Angeles in La Quinta's Madison Club (a golf and tennis community), this area is a playground for the ultrarich and famous. It's also close to the location of the Coachella music festival where West performed in 2019, so we're moving this property to his portfolio.
However, both Kris Jenner and Kardashian's little sister Kylie Jenner have homes nearby, so this particular real estate holding might cause a tussle in the end.