Protecting What Matters Most

What do you do with art during a high-value divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2022 | High Asset Divorce

High-asset divorces often have unique assets that have to be appraised and divided. Sometimes, it’s hard to know what to do with certain items or even to understand if they have value at all.

Art is one of those assets. To one person, the art might not be important or even attractive, but it could have a significant value. Certain artists’ work can be worth thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, which is why it’s so important to get it appraised before you divide it.

The importance of appraising artwork

Artwork appraisal is a skill all its own, and it’s important that you do hire an appraiser to handle the artwork if you’re not sure of its cost. Even if you know what you paid, remember that fluctuations in the market may change what the artwork is worth or the demand for it. For example, if the artists’ work you bought was $1,000 a year ago but the artist has since gone on to gain international recognition, you could find that the artwork is worth much, much more.

When you hire an appraiser, you and your spouse should either agree on the same one or choose two. Then, you can take the appraisals and agree on the average or, if you agreed on the single appraiser, take that number forward in the divorce. If you want to be sure you’re going to get the money for the art, you may want to consider selling it at an auction house or to a private buyer rather than just estimating its value.

What if you want to keep the art?

If you want to keep the artwork, this is why the appraisal becomes even more important. You’ll be able to use the appraisal number, the fair market value, in negotiations, so you can offset the value of other property and know the value of what you’re standing to walk away with.

Artwork can be a complex asset to deal with during a divorce, so start with thinking about what you want to do with it and then consider looking into getting an appraisal to determine its value.


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