Thankfully, you and your current spouse can divorce amicably, which can make the process easier on you both. On the flip side, you collected art pieces during or before (perhaps both) your marriage, which are not always easy to valuate and divide.

Understand the fundamentals of fairly splitting artwork with help from the American Bar Association. The right information can keep you and your current spouse on amicable terms.

Basic questions

A few questions to ask are:

  • Did you and your spouse buy the artwork during your marriage?
  • Have any acquired pieces increased in value between the time of purchase and the date of divorce?
  • Did you or your spouse inherit the art in question?

Expect art bought or created during your marriage to become marital property to divide as such. Anything created or purchased before your marriage could be non-martial property.

Future proceeds

What if the value of a martial art piece increases after your divorce? You and your spouse may want to work out a deal where one of you retains the art’s copyright while the other retains physical possession of the piece. Maybe one of you is an art creator rather than an art buyer. If so, prepare to approach the matter with a spirit of compromise, as creativity can help divide your unique property fairly between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse.

Professional opinion 

Consider consulting with experienced professionals. Art dealers, artists and legal professionals can help you understand your options and how to approach this type of property division in a way that feels fair to all parties involved.

Take your time while valuing artwork during your divorce. Your diligence is sure to result in lasting satisfaction long after the ink dries on your divorce paperwork.