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Dividing artwork during a divorce can be complicated

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2023 | Family Law

If you’re getting a divorce in Virginia, you may feel relief as you’re close to ending a troublesome relationship. Unfortunately, divorce proceedings can be challenging when you must split your assets equitably, especially if artwork is involved. When you’ve collected several pieces throughout the years, some may be special to both of you. Determining if a piece is a marital or separate property must be done to distribute each one correctly. Valuing the artwork is also critical as pieces can increase or decrease in price.

Is it marital or separate property?

To determine how your artwork will be split during a divorce, each piece will be categorized as marital or separate property. A piece brought into your marriage by you or your spouse alone is considered separate property and won’t be divided. Artwork that you or your spouse purchased during your marriage is considered marital property and may be subject to division.

Valuing artwork during a divorce

Your artwork has likely increased or decreased in value since it was acquired. To ensure these assets are divided fairly, the value for each piece will need to be determined when getting a divorce. While using one appraiser can be sufficient, you may choose to have two appraisers determine values to get a better picture.

Other factors

Dividing artwork during a divorce can be difficult due to other factors. If you or your spouse created the artwork, copyright can be involved as well as current and future licensing revenues. If you or your spouse created several pieces that are decorating your house, stacked in a studio or placed in storage, you may believe they belong to the person who created them. However, if these pieces of artwork were created during your marriage, they’ll likely be considered community property.

Knowing how a divorce affects your artwork is essential, so you can craft a plan for splitting assets in a way that is fair. Being prepared to negotiate is critical due to the complexity of splitting these assets.