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Things to consider about artwork when divorcing

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2019 | Property Division

During the course of a marriage, many Texas couples acquire expensive physical assets such as automobiles, homes, boats and artwork. A divorce brings the complication and heartache of dividing or selling these assets.

No one expects their marriage to fail, and couples often enjoy shopping for art and accumulating a collection together. However, the American Psychological Association states that 48 percent of all marriages will end in divorce before reaching 20 years of marriage. That leaves room for a lot of artwork to be acquired during that time. 

In recent years, artwork has increased greatly in value, further complicating how to handle its division. Plus, many owners have formed an emotional attachment to art they have collected and can be extremely reluctant to part with it when the marriage fails. According to The Wall Street Journal, it is often easier to split up assets such as money, houses and cars than it is to divide artwork. 

It is imperative that a couple first compile a complete list of the works of art that are jointly owned. Then, a professional appraiser should be hired to provide a current valuation of the collection. If the spouses cannot agree on the appraiser, they might each hire their own individual and defer to their attorneys for negotiations or to the court for a determination of value.

Sometimes, one party has great sentimental attachment to a particular piece of art. It might be worth examining who cares about it more and trying to reach an agreement. Or, it may be used as a bargaining tool during talks. If the parties cannot agree on the division of their collection, a judge may order its sale.

Artwork has the potential to be a significant factor when trying to settle a divorce. It is important to take all steps necessary to resolve its division or sale carefully.