Divorce and your art collection

Divorce and your art collection

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Divorce, Marital Property |

Couples who own fine art, collectibles and antiques can accumulate a significant amount over the course of a marriage. These items can make up a considerable portion of marital property and, as such, are subject to an equitable division in divorce.

Steps to protect specific pieces of art

Couples can take steps before they are married to ensure they will get certain pieces if they divorce. Keeping meticulous records when you have fine art and collectibles is imperative. Consider using online art inventory software to keep track of what is in your collection, along with appraisals, photographs, and certificates of authenticity that you can store in the Cloud. Having these records readily accessible and updated is also helpful for estate planning or if theft or natural disasters occur and you lose a piece.

If you enter marriage with artwork, consider drafting a prenuptial to delineate what is yours. However, you should remain aware that if you use joint funds to restore a piece during the marriage, your spouse may have a claim to that item. Each piece a couple acquires during the marriage will be considered joint property, no matter who paid for it. Artwork is like any other asset when dividing property. Essentially, its worth is the same as that of other tangible property and intangibles like investment accounts.

Property division in a high-asset divorce

A high net-worth divorce is often more complicated and drawn out because of the number of assets the couple must divide. Keep in mind that equitable property division doesn’t mean each spouse will receive 50% of their marital assets. Many factors go into determining your settlement, including real estate valuations, retirement and investment accounts, business ownership and the personal health and employment situations of each spouse. Even the presence of a prenuptial agreement can affect property division.

Consider working with a certified divorce financial analyst to get a fair assessment of what your assets are worth. These professionals may also provide you with various scenarios if you want to keep specific items so you can negotiate to protect your financial interests.