Divorce is never easy, but it can be especially difficult when it comes to dividing assets. One often-overlooked category of assets is art collections. What happens to paintings, sculptures, and other pieces of art when a couple splits up?
Marital vs. separate property
In most states, art that’s acquired during a marriage is typically considered to be marital property. This means that it will be divided equally between the husband and wife when the couple divorces. However, there are some exceptions. If an artist specifically creates a piece of art for one spouse, then that work of art will usually be considered to be the separate property of that spouse.
Dividing up art collections
When it comes to dividing up art collections, there are a few different options available. The couple can either sell the artwork and divide the proceeds equally, or they can each keep their pieces of art and agree not to sell them. If one spouse is particularly attached to a certain piece of artwork, they can offer to buy out the other spouse’s interest in that piece.
No matter what option you choose, it’s important to make sure that you draw up all of the paperwork correctly so that there are no disputes down the road.
How can you protect your art collection before a divorce?
If you’re concerned about what will happen to your art collection in a divorce, there are some steps you can take to protect it. First, you should keep track of all the artwork that you acquire during your marriage. This includes keeping records of when and where you purchased each piece as well as any appraisals.
You should also consider creating a prenuptial agreement that specifically addresses your art collection. A prenup can designate which pieces of art are to be considered separate property, and how they will get divided if the couple divorces.
Divorce is never easy, but by taking some precautions, you can help protect your art collection in the event of a split. Just remember that understanding the law, communicating with your spouse, and having a plan can go a long way.