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How should you handle your art collection in divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2022 | Divorce

Divorce is never easy in Washington or anywhere else. One complicating aspect of ending a marriage is dividing assets, which may include valuable pieces of art. There are a few things you should know about divorce and your art collection.

Marital versus separate property

In most states, if the art was purchased during marriage with marital funds, it’s considered marital property and will get divided between both spouses. However, if the artwork was purchased before the marriage or with separate funds, such as an inheritance, then it may be considered to be separate property and one spouse will keep it in its entirety.

Take inventory of your collection

If you acquired artwork together, it’s important to take an inventory of all pieces so that you can determine what belongs to whom. In other words, you will need to determine exactly what pieces are included in the collection and their current values. This is important for both financial and sentimental reasons, as it will help ensure that all parties agree on a fair distribution of the artwork.

Get it appraised

Once you’ve taken an inventory of your collection, you should get the artwork appraised by a professional. This will help determine its current market value and can help to facilitate a fair division of assets during the divorce. It is important to note that some states require an appraisal for divorcing couples who have significant collections.

How do you divide it?

One option is to sell the collection and divide the proceeds between spouses. This may involve negotiating a lump sum payment or setting up an installment plan over time. You can also choose to split the collection between both spouses, but this can be more difficult since it requires both parties to agree on which pieces should go to whom. Lastly, some couples opt for a combination of the two, selling some pieces and dividing others.

No matter what you decide to do with your art collection when divorcing, it is essential to ensure everyone involved is aware of their rights and responsibilities. It’s also wise to ensure that both parties are on the same page regarding the value of the collection and how it should get divided to help mitigate any potential disputes that may arise as a result of the divorce.