Guidelines for dividing art in a divorce
In a high-asset divorce, you may have assets that the usual couple does not have, such as valuable art pieces. It is important to understand how to handle these in the property division process.
There are a few considerations that you need to look at when deciding how you will handle the art division in your divorce.
Who owns it?
The first step in the process is determining who owns the art pieces. Generally, anything you bought during the marriage belongs to both of you equally. If you had art prior to the marriage, it is your separate property in most cases. If you inherited it or received it as a gift, this also may be separate property. You will need to focus on the jointly-owned art moving forward.
How much is it worth?
The next step is getting a value assigned to each piece. You may need to employ art experts to get a valid valuation. It is important to assign some value to every piece that you need to divide, as it will help make the process much easier.
Who gets what?
Once you know the ownership rights and value for each piece, you can begin to get down to the actual division. You have a couple of options. You can either sell the pieces and split the money or you can negotiate ownership so that you each receive an equal value of art. You may not get the same number of pieces, but the value of what you get should be as equal as possible.
In some cases, you may use other assets to negotiate so that you can keep more art. For example, you may offer to allow your spouse to have a vehicle so that you can get a specific piece of art.
The bottom line is that you will treat art like any other asset. You must divide it between the two of you in a fair manner.