Dividing Art in a Divorce

Artwork can have not only financial, but aesthetic, emotional, and personal value. Much of the value of a painting is outside of the amount of money that has been paid for the piece. Oftentimes, dividing art in a divorce settlement can be more of a fight than other property.

Inventory & Appraisal Key for Art Division

When divorcing, there are two main things a couple should keep in mind as they go forward with their proceedings.

These include the following:

  • Make an inventory of all art pieces
  • Appraise the worth of the art

Making an inventory of the art pieces can be done by detailing what was bought by whom and when, what art has been sold, and which pieces have yet to sell. This can help determine which art is marital property and which is separate property.

Bringing in an outside appraiser can help determine the true value of art pieces and assist in the division. By having a fair understanding of the financial value of an art piece, it gives both spouse's fair grounds to negotiate. If one spouse has an emotional or personal attachment to a specific piece, other assets can be negotiated in its place. If a couple can determine art division on their own, it can prevent the court from ordering the pieces to be sold value in order to obtain an even division.

If you have an art collection and are going through a divorce, make sure that you take the right steps to protect your valuables!