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Fair distribution of art collections in a high asset divorce

When a couple divorces, the separation of marital property can be challenging, especially when it consists of an art collection worth millions of dollars. In California and other states, if parties cannot agree to distribute property amicably and equally, then it may be up to an appraiser to decide it's worth. Some claim the only way to determine the exact value of priceless artwork during a high asset divorce is to sell it.

The value of artwork has soared in recent years, so it is no surprise that settlements are being held up in court litigations. Some collectors claim their pieces are more valuable than the property in which they are displayed. Experts recommend keeping detailed records of collections purchased both before and during the marriage. The source of funds used to make the purchase may play a significant role in determining ownership.

 A prenuptial agreement for art acquired before marriage may settle disputes about ownership during the divorce. Anything obtained during the marriage may become fair game for property division. In some states, gifts of art given during the marriage may also be considered marital property, and the prenup can settle how those assets will be divided.

There is nothing more stressful than a high asset divorce steeped in bitterness over the division of property. Some claim sentimental attachment to pieces that cannot compare to a car or house. This can lead to expensive legal proceedings that may last for years. In California, an incisive attorney can cut through the red tape and prepare a case for fair distribution of property for their client.

Source:, "Who Gets the Art in a High Profile Divorce", Julie Belcove Jan, Jan. 10, 2018

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