Dividing your art collections in divorce

Divorce comes with a unique set of challenges which can include dividing your valuable possessions. As a New York resident, your art collection may include abstract works and professional photographs that celebrate the city. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when dividing your art collection with your former spouse.

A scenario to consider

To better understand how art should be divided in a divorce, it is important to determine who will assume ownership of the artwork after the divorce. If a couple displayed the art in their home, the pieces could be seen as marital property. However, if one spouse paid for the artwork, the pieces will likely be awarded to that spouse. The other spouse could argue that the art was a gift from their ex and the courts may consider this when making a ruling.

A prenuptial agreement can sometimes help couples sort out who will receive the art that was once in the marital home. The agreement may dictate that any property that was “jointly held” by the couple is considered marital property no matter who purchased the property.

Ways to avoid lengthy litigation

To reduce disagreements about artwork during a divorce, it is important to keep a certificate of title or another document proving purchase and ownership.

You may also want to make changes to your prenup or postnup. Make sure your agreement states that the party who buys the artwork is the owner and that a bill of sale is sufficient evidence to determine who owns the piece. Keeping a copy of receipts and any documents confirming ownership of the art could make the divorce proceedings more efficient.