Can an art collection be divided in a divorce?

The divorce process is riddled with complex negotiations. As people attempt to split one household into two, the division of assets and debts can take center stage. Unfortunately, this process isn’t as clear-cut as many people think.

Certain elements such as a prenuptial agreement or clear expectations about debt responsibility can reduce the intensity of the negotiations. However, some couples have amassed complex assets that might be challenging to divide. Real property such as the matrimonial home or a commercial building can be sold, and the profits split. Other assets might have more sentimental value and require delicate handling.

If you own an art collection, here are some tips to remember.

  • Keep an accurate inventory: It is important to keep a detailed, accurate record of the pieces in your collection. From the original purchase price to appraisal values, it is crucial to have a well-organized inventory rather than relying on memories and disorganized documentation.
  • Maintain marital agreements: From the creation of a prenuptial agreement before the wedding to the revisions to a post-nuptial agreement throughout the marriage, it is wise to carefully document who owns which pieces to avoid future disputes.
  • Art is an asset: It might be hard to come to terms with, but the ugly truth about your art collection is that – in a divorce – it is no different than any other asset. Generally, in a divorce, assets are ascribed a value and split equitably between the parties. If you can keep accurate ownership records, it might go a long way toward removing emotional debates.

Property division can be an enormous topic and a gateway to heated, emotional disputes. Working with an experienced divorce attorney can help guide you through the process in a professional, efficient manner.

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