If you are going through a divorce and have an art collection, you must determine how to divide that collection. Dividing your belongings, especially those with emotional attachments, can be complex and stressful.
At Adams Law Firm, we understand how overwhelming divorce and the distribution of assets can be. The Katy asset division lawyers of Adams Law Firm are here to help you through this difficult time. Our attorneys have over 35 years of experience helping individuals navigate divorce. When you and your spouse disagree on dividing your art collection, the divorce attorneys of Adams Law Firm can help protect your interests.
Are Art Collections Community or Separate Property?
To determine the distribution of your art collection, you need to know whether it is community or separate property. In Texas, property acquired by either spouse during their marriage is presumed community property. If either or both spouses bought the art during the marriage, a court may presume the collection belongs to both spouses and divide it equitably.
However, you can establish that it is separate property by providing clear and convincing evidence that you owned it separately. Clear and convincing evidence of sole ownership may include evidence that:
- One spouse owned the art collection before the marriage
- One spouse inherited the art collection during the marriage
- The art collection was a gift to one spouse during the marriage
- One spouse owns the art collection because it was stipulated in the pre-or post-marital agreement
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the art collection could be either community property or separate property.
What Happens if the Art Collection Is Community Property?
When an art collection is community property, you should first create a detailed inventory, so nothing gets overlooked. You have several options for distribution. You could split the collection equitably or sell the entire collection and split the money. Do whatever works best for you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Selling your art collection is often the easiest method for dividing the asset equitably. In this case, you would sell all the art and split the money equally or in a predetermined manner.
If you choose to keep the art and split it equitably, you should get it appraised so you know the value of each piece of art. It can be challenging to determine the value of art until it sells. This is because the value of the art depends on who is buying it.
However, some individuals, such as art collectors and art specialists, can help value the art. One method for getting your art collection appraised is agreeing to a single appraiser with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Another method is for each spouse to get their own appraiser.
Typically, an appraiser will look at recent sales of comparable prices to provide an estimated value. As a result, each spouse having an appraiser can create issues because the appraisers may place substantially different values on the art.
How to Find an Appraiser for Your Art Collection?
Depending on your art collection, finding an appraiser for your art can be difficult. For example, if you have one-of-a-kind or unique pieces, you should use an appraiser with experience with your type of art. In contrast, a collector or specialist at an auction house could help if you have a more general art collection.
Dividing Property Outside of Court
Before you go to court, you should attempt to negotiate the value and distribution of your art collection. Once you agree on the value of the art using an appraiser or whatever method you and your spouse choose, you can begin dividing. Here are several options you can use for distribution:
- Sell it: One distribution option is selling the art collection at an auction or elsewhere. Once you sell the art, you can split the money equally between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. With this method, no one is fighting over who gets what, making this a simple way to distribute the art collection.
- Alternating picks: You may want to just alternate picks until you’ve claimed all the pieces. This option can allow each party to claim the pieces they want. However, you must prioritize if you and your spouse want the same pieces.
- Point method: Under this method, each party gets a certain number of points to use for bidding, like at an auction. The bidding continues until every piece has been claimed. This method allows each party to prioritize the art they want. It can also help resolve disagreements about the value of the artwork because one party may value it more than the other.
- Negotiating: It may be worth having your attorneys negotiate. For example, if one spouse wants a specific piece of artwork worth more than the rest combined, they may give up another asset to compensate for the difference.
Art Collection Distribution in Court
If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse cannot agree on the value of your art collection and its distribution, you must go to court. When the court distributes your art collection, they will look at the value of the artwork. Each party may need to hire an expert witness with experience valuing art. The experts will present their findings, and the court will use those findings to determine the value of the art. When distributing artwork, the court should consider the artwork’s value, ownership, and the other assets each party receives in the divorce.
Once the court determines the distribution of your assets, it is difficult to overcome the determination. Therefore, if you want a say in the distribution of your art collection, you should attempt to settle outside of court.
Contact Adams Law Firm to Discuss the Distribution of Your Art Collection
Divorces can be complex and stressful. However, having the right attorney can make the divorce process easier. The experienced divorce attorneys of Adams Law Firm have fought for our clients’ best interests for over 30 years. We can help you pursue an equitable division of your art collection.