Dividing art collections in a divorce

| Jun 25, 2021 | Divorce

When couples get divorced in Colorado, the legal term used to divide all their marital property is “equitable.” The court defines equitable as being fair based on the underlying factors they will consider, not a 50/50 split. How does the court determine equitable distribution of your art collection during a divorce?

Dividing marital assets between couples in Colorado

Colorado is a no-fault and equitable distribution jurisdiction. This means that factors that led to the divorce are not taken into account when diving marital property. Instead, the court will take into account the following factors:

  • The period you have been married
  • The potential future financial capabilities of each spouse after the divorce
  • The income and property of each spouse during marriage
  • The homemaker in the marriage

How art collections are divided

In a high-asset divorce where valuables like art pieces are involved, the court will require the couple to take all inventory of their collections before distributing property. Factors considered include:

  • When was the piece of art acquired? If you acquired that piece of art while you were married, it becomes a marital property regardless of who purchased it. On the other hand, if you bought it before marriage, then it is non-marital property.
  • Was it inherited or gifted? If you gift your spouse the artwork, it becomes marital property. However, if it is an inheritance given by someone else outside your marriage, then it is your property.
  • How did each spouse contribute to the value of the artwork? The court will consider any effort made by each spouse on the artwork.
  • Was a prenuptial agreement signed? The terms stated on your prenuptial agreement concerning your marital properties will also be considered during a divorce.

Dividing pieces of art is quite a challenge

High-asset divorce involving a valuable piece of art may drag along for a while and involve many complications. For instance, if parties fail to ascertain the exact value of the artwork, the judge might order its sale.

Splitting a valuable piece of art can be a daunting process for couples. However, since Colorado is an equitable jurisdiction, you can agree with your spouse on how you want to separate your collection. It would be helpful to get the counsel of a qualified attorney during the process.

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