When you split from your spouse, you have to divide up all of your property. That includes any valuable artwork and collectibles that you and your spouse have. These items can be difficult to split up. They often have actual monetary value as well as sentimental value. However, artwork and collectibles do need to be distributed among a divorcing couple. You will want to have experienced Mountainside property distribution attorneys on your side for this.
Are Artwork and Collectibles Subject to Equitable Distribution?
Yes, artwork and collectibles are subject to equitable distribution just like any other asset. This refers to the state court’s way of dividing things up. When all is said and done, the property is divided equitably among the couple.
Notice that we said equitably, not equally. Equally implies that each spouse gets an exactly even share of the assets. You have an artwork collection worth $200,000, so you divorce and each spouse gets $100,000 in artwork. A court seeking equitable division looks at other factors affecting your divorce and the financial situations of both you and your spouse. Then they decide what kind of split would be fair to everyone involved.
What Can Be Considered When Artwork and Collectibles Are Split Up?
If you go to court, the judge can consider a variety of factors before they decide who gets which artwork and collectibles. Things that could affect your share include:
- How long the marriage lasted
- The income and assets of both spouses
- The age and health of both spouses
- The debts and liabilities of each spouse
- How much a spouse contributed to a collection
If one spouse is more passionate about the physical objects being collected, sometimes they will be allowed to keep the collection while the other spouse receives a portion of that collection’s equity.
What If I Owned Artwork and Collectibles Before My Marriage Began?
Sometimes one spouse has begun a collection of artwork or collectibles long before the marriage began. In situations like these, that spouse should be able to keep the artwork and collectibles that they came into the marriage with. This should all be considered “separate property” as opposed to “marital property.”
Is There a Good Way to Protect These Assets?
This is why it is a good idea to keep careful notes about your collection. Keep a log that notes things like when the piece was bought, how much it cost, and where it came from. If you have had any pieces appraised, keep a record of that too. Your spouse might be spiteful to try to claim your whole collection as marital property and take some things away from you, but a paperwork trail can make that more difficult.
Talk to Our Legal Team Today
If you want to ensure that you get a fair deal when your marital assets are divided up, you should contact our legal team. The lawyers at Ross & Calandrillo, LLC are ready to fight for you, and we will be here to answer any questions that you have about property distribution, the divorce process, or anything else.