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How can we split the art collection in our divorce?

If you and your spouse are art collectors and now face a divorce, you may struggle with divvying up the pieces. In addition to their financial value, artwork can retain strong sentimental value to collectors, making it hard to part with cherished pieces.

Below are some suggestions to employ when determining who will keep which pieces from a shared collection.

Hash it out yourselves

This is by far preferable to having the court determine the matter. Family law courts will order the collection to be sold and the proceeds split between the parties, which can mean that neither of you will get the pieces you want.

Make an inventory

Unless you know what all is there, you can't present a good case for keeping what you want. In some cases, a few pieces may be one spouse's separate property if they bought or acquired it before the marriage. These pieces should be identified as separately-owned art not subject to the divorce settlement.

Appraise the collection

You and your spouse can hire two appraisers or one neutral third party, but don't skip this step, as one attorney in another state offers this tongue-in-cheek comment: "The love of art grows exponentially after the appraiser's report comes in."

Be willing to bargain

If you are emotionally invested in retaining a specific work of art, be prepared to put your chips on the table. The vacation home for the Renoir? Only you can make the call.

You and your Orlando family law attorney can work closely together to reach accord with your ex and their attorney regarding the disposition of your art collection in your divorce.

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Mercedes R. Wechsler, P.A.
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