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How do you divide art in a high-asset divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2021 | Divorce

When you are an avid art collector, one of the issues you may deal with upon divorce is deciding what to do with that artwork. You may be interested in keeping certain pieces, but depending on the assets you have and their values, you may not have that option.

If you need to divide your art in divorce, there are a few steps to follow to do so.

Dividing art upon divorce

When you need to divide art in your divorce, the first step is to make an inventory. Identify all of the art pieces that you purchased during your marriage. Find out the details about each piece, such as how much you paid and where it was purchased, since those may influence the value of the pieces.

Next, it’s a smart idea for you and your spouse to hire an appraiser. If you can agree on one appraiser, that’s acceptable. If not, then both of you may want to hire separate appraisers and then come up with a reasonable value for the art based on their findings.

Appraisals have the potential to be significantly different, so you should decide ahead of time if you’ll take the highest appraisal, lowest appraisal or split the difference.

Once you have the value of the art pieces, you can decide how to divide them. They can also be used as leverage for other assets. For example, if the value of all the art pieces is $500,000 and the value of your property is $500,000, one spouse could choose to keep the art while the other opts to stay in the home.

You may also decide to sell your assets and split the money you earn from the sale.

What if the art belonged to you, or was purchased, before marriage?

Any artwork purchased or owned before your marriage will remain separate property and will not need to be divided during your divorce. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use a particular piece for leverage in your divorce if you wish.

Dividing art can be difficult, but with the right appraisal information, you’ll be able to start negotiations.