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Divorce and your art collection in Illinois

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2022 | Divorce

Art pieces are some of the most valuable assets you could own in Illinois. They are not affected by inflation, and their value grows significantly with time. If you have a collection, you may be wondering what would happen during a divorce. Keep reading to find out.

Divorce and art collection

Before you head over to divorce court, the main thing you need to figure out is which of your assets are separate and marital. Separate property includes inheritance, gifts, and anything you acquired before your marriage. In contrast, marital property includes all assets you and your spouse earned or purchased when together. For example, if you bought your art collections while married, they will all become marital property, subject to equitable division upon divorce.

It is also important to note that separate property can become marital in Illinois. For instance, if your spouse does anything to your separate art pieces to increase their value, like framing, treating, or preservation, the artwork will become marital through commingling.

Valuing art pieces

Art pieces are not easy to value; you will need a good appraiser. Of course, the court will assign theirs, but it would be helpful to hire your private appraiser to determine the actual current value of your collection. Among the key things that they look at include:
• The artist. If a renowned and respected artist created your art collection, and if their work represented their known style, it would have a higher value.
• The subject. Interesting art is generally more valuable in Illinois.
• The quality. The higher the quality of work (the fine details), the more valuable it’ll be.
• Size. Bigger pieces require a certain level of skill that not all artists have, so the court will value them higher.

After valuation, you can decide to sell your collection and divvy up the proceeds equitably (Illinois is not a 50/50 state). The judge will look at several factors when determining a fair distribution. You can take another property in exchange with the same value to your share of the art. Or, you can buy out your spouse.

Art collections are a precious asset in a divorce. Ensure that you are getting what’s fair as per the uniqueness of your marriage and situation.

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