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How do courts divide artwork in divorce?

February 1, 2022 | Asset Division, Firm News

Not only do you have substantial assets to divide in your divorce, but you also have unique assets to divide with your current spouse. For instance, you and your soon-to-be-ex have several valuable art collections to divide.

The American Bar Association explains how courts divide artwork when couples dissolve a marriage. Get an idea of how to navigate these usual waters.

Factors to consider

While deciding what to do with art collections and thinking about which pieces you may want, keep a few considerations in mind. For example, which pieces did you and your current partner buy during the marriage? Did you and your current spouse receive any pieces as gifts, or were they part of an inheritance? Have any pieces increased in value from the time you bought them up until you filed for divorce?

Jurisdiction laws

Divorcing couples with art collections must also consider whether they live in an equitable division jurisdiction or a community property jurisdiction. Colorado follows equitable division laws, which means the court considers those regulations when dividing and valuing art collections.

Marital and non-marital property

If you bought or created art before marrying your current partner, expect the court to consider those pieces as non-marital property. Collections and pieces bought or created during the marriage qualify as marital property, which means a judge may divide them between the two of you.

Treatment of future proceeds

You must also consider future proceeds while deciding what to do with your artwork. One of you may own a work’s copyright while the other owns the art itself.

Few couples must consider what to do with art in a divorce. Understanding the facts on the unique issue helps you make a well-informed decision for your post-divorce life.

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