How to divide an art collection in a divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2022 | High Asset Divorce

There are a lot of artists and art collectors in Colorado, and most people can agree that the value of art is subjective. Two people can have completely different perspectives on what a piece of art should be sold for. When a couple divorces, a large art collection can be one of the most difficult assets to divide.

Keep track of when the art was acquired

The first part of dividing an art collection during divorce proceedings is separating the personal property from marital property. Any art that you acquired prior to your marriage is your own personal property. In rare cases, however, a particularly valuable piece of art that you purchased prior to your marriage might have grown in value significantly. In a situation like this, your spouse may be entitled to a portion of the equity.

Have your art appraised

Once you have determined which pieces of art are considered marital property, you should look into having the art collection appraised by an art expert. If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on the division of your art collection outside of court, an appraisal may not be necessary. However, if the court is involved in property division, a judge will want some exact numbers in order to divide your art collection equitably.

There are other issues besides dollar value

Of course, the value of an art collection goes far beyond what an appraisal determines its worth. During property division negotiations, it’s perfectly normal to mention which spouse is more emotionally attached to a particular piece of art. Since Colorado is an equitable division state, the property does not have to be divided strictly in half.