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Complex Problems

Appraisals are essential if you’re dividing art in divorce

One thing of value in your home is a large collection of artwork that you and your spouse collected over the years. You’ve both been avid art collectors for many years, and both of you have invested thousands into your own little gallery.

Now that you’re looking at divorcing, you want to make sure that you get your fair share of those pieces. What should you do to help that happen?

An appraisal is your first step

You should know that the first step toward protecting your share of marital assets is getting an appraisal of all the artwork you own. You and your spouse may want to work with separate appraisers unless you can agree on a single appraiser to work with.

Once the appraiser assigns a value to each of the art pieces, it will be easier to break down their values and decide how much each person should receive. For example, if you have 17 art pieces totaling in value at $170,000, each of you should walk away with approximately $85,000 of artwork.

With art, another thing to consider is the emotional connection you have to the pieces. If you have five pieces you want and you’re happy to leave the others to your spouse, you may want to ask them to exchange a different asset or to buy those additional pieces from you. It’s most important that you get the value you’re allowed to have rather than specifically dividing the physical assets in half.

If you are ready to divide your marital assets, your attorney can help you draw up a settlement that your spouse can sign. If you don’t both agree, then you may want to look into other methods of negotiation.