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What does divorce mean for your art collection?

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | Divorce

If a large part of your marital estate includes artwork, the value can quickly add up. You might not realize how many assets you’ve amassed over the course of your marriage – and their collective value – particularly if you’ve been together for a long time in California.

Keep track of what’s yours and theirs

In most states, the value of your collection is subject to equitable distribution. California, however, is a community property state. This means marital assets are generally owned jointly by the couple, and in the event of a divorce, divided equally unless the spouses have agreed otherwise.

The first thing you’ll probably want to do is go through your collection and make a detailed inventory. This allows you to take stock of what you have and start to categorize everything.

You’ll have to determine if there were pieces that had already been acquired before you got married. If you’re able to divide and conquer, it may help make this potentially challenging process seem less overwhelming.

Also, take note if some of the artwork is sold at some point over the course of the separation. Any money made from these sales might factor into your finances during the divorce proceedings.

Use the tools that are available to you

Good records are essential if you want to keep what’s yours and get your fair share of the value in a high-asset divorce. Luckily, there’s great software available to help you keep track of everything from:

  • Photographs
  • Location
  • Certificates of authenticity
  • Appraisal reports
  • Bills of sale

It might be difficult to agree on anything when you’re getting divorced, as it could be part of the reason why the marriage had to end in the first place. But you’ll have to reach an agreement on the value of each piece in your art collection if you want to move forward. You can either use the most recent report or have a new one done if that appraisal isn’t satisfactory to one or both parties.