Who Gets the Art in a Divorce?

Mar 10, 2021 Divorce

Preparing for a high asset divorce? One of the most hotly contested assets in a marital split is the couple’s art collection – particularly if they are passionate art collectors whose collection has come to be worth quite a large sum of money. As one of the last unregulated financial markets, art can be a highly valuable asset that carries sentimental and monetary value. Our Irvine high asset divorce attorneys have experience helping high net worth couples determine how to approach dealing with their art collection. You will need to be prepared to appraise your collection and consider whether some pieces will have to be put up for auction to divide the proceeds during your divorce. You have to be prepared for a substantial negotiation, depending on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested.

Dividing assets is never easy, and even less so when they are objects of this unique value. So, it begs the question – Who gets the art in a divorce?

How Irvine High Asset Divorce Attorneys Help Divide Art Assets

Determining who is entitled to keep the art will depend on various factors that your attorneys will consider in great detail. For example, your attorneys will want to know whether the art was something you purchased during the marriage or whether it came to you through an inheritance or was purchased solely by an individual spouse. It will also be crucial to determine whether the art came into your possession during or before the marriage – that’s particularly important in California, where marital property is considered anything acquired during the marriage only. Whether it was a gift from one spouse to another will also be relevant.

Regardless of how the artwork was acquired, your lawyers will want to know whether the artwork has gained significant value over the course of the marriage and whether it was used as collateral to back living or lifestyle expenses. 

How Will the Value Be Determined?

If your art collection comes into play during your divorce, your attorney will likely have the collection appraised to determine the total monetary value of it, should you choose to liquidate the collection in order to distribute the assets equitably. While some couples may be able to split the art according to who wants to keep which pieces, others may find that the only fair way to redistribute the assets is to sell some or all of the pieces in the collection and divide the profits. While this may not be ideal, it may be required depending on the particulars of your divorce.

Contact Our Irvine High Asset Divorce Attorneys to Get Started

If you’re considering a divorce and are worried about what might happen to your art collection in the process, you should consider speaking with our team of experienced Irvine high asset divorce attorneys. They can counsel you on the best path forward. Contact our offices today.