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Dealing with your art collection in a divorce

If you and your spouse have collected antiques and art during your marriage, those collectibles can comprise a considerable portion of your marital property. Yet, valuing those items when contemplating divorce in Illinois can become difficult. Here is what you can do to make the process easier.

Keep comprehensive records

Although you may not like to think about it when you buy original art, always keep records of how much you paid for the piece when you bought it, along with appraisals, just in case you decide to sell it or for the possibility of divorce. Using an online artwork inventory archive can help you keep track of your collection, including what pieces you may have purchased by yourself before the marriage. Organizing your art inventory is not only essential for divorce but for estate planning purposes.

If you and your spouse decide to sell some of your marital art collection while negotiating your divorce settlement, make sure you agree on an appraisal value, either from a recent report or by getting a new one.

An art collection is like any other property

Your art collection is like any other assets you may have purchased during your marriage. You may have to use some favorite pieces as a bargaining tool if you are set on keeping certain ones.

Ways to protect art in a divorce

A possible way to protect art and collectibles is by including provisions for them in pre-nuptial agreements. By doing so, you may be able to avoid arguments over who gets what piece during property division negotiations. However, if you don’t have one, making a list of must-haves, maybes, and pieces you can part with may help.

Artwork and other collectibles can become contentious, making property division complex. Compounding the problem is that the worth of such pieces is intangible. You and your spouse may want to get separate appraisals to arrive at a valuation solution. Consider entering into mediation or arbitration to resolve difficulties over spitting collectibles to reach an equitable distribution.