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Why is it so difficult to divide artwork during a divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2021 | Divorce, Family Law

If you are planning to end your marriage, you probably already know Florida law entitles you to an equitable share of the marital estate. While you may not end up with exactly half of everything you and your spouse own, you should get what you fairly deserve.

Dividing real property, certain furnishings, cash and retirement accounts may be a straightforward endeavor. When it comes to your art collection, though, you are likely to run into some difficulties. This is especially true if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse cannot reach an acceptable out-of-court settlement.

Valuing artwork

Generic artwork is not necessarily difficult to value, as it may have nominal worth. If you and your husband or wife own a one-of-a-kind piece from a well-known artist, though, you may receive wildly different appraisals from art aficionados.

The following factors may influence the value of your artwork:

  • Artist
  • Subject
  • Rarity
  • Quality
  • Condition
  • Technique
  • Provenance

The art market

The art market is notorious for heating up and cooling down quickly. Even if you can come up with a realistic value for your collection, finding a buyer may be difficult. Accordingly, you may not be able to sell the collection and split the proceeds without taking a significant loss.

Your divorce team

When dividing your art collection during divorce, you and your spouse may have different objectives. Both of you may choose to put a professional art appraiser on your divorce team. Despite having extensive experience in the art world, these appraisers may draw different conclusions. Still, your appraiser may be able to attack the validity of the valuation method your spouse’s appraiser uses.

While dividing your art collection during your divorce has its challenges, your collection may be one of your more valuable assets. Ultimately, trying to find a reputable appraiser who can give you a realistic value may be in your legal and financial interests.


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