Like financial assets, artwork is one of the most hotly debated elements of high net worth divorce cases. In some cases, the artwork is a prized collection. In other cases, the artwork symbolizes status. In addition to its financial worth, artwork can create an emotional attachment for one or both spouses. No matter where you fall on the broad spectrum, it is important that you understand the process for dividing artwork, as well as how to make the process run as smoothly as possible.
Overall, the two primary considerations for dividing artwork are the legal and tax implications. From a legal perspective, couples must understand the laws of the state, such as equitable distribution (the division of marital property in a fair and just manner), and be prepared to disclose all documents relating to the artwork and ownership. From a tax perspective, not only does owning the artwork influence taxes, but selling it or changing ownership can also have the same effect. In addition to legal and tax considerations, there are several other important factors that Florida couples should keep in mind before making decisions about artwork division. Talking with a experienced and knowledgeable Florida Divorce Lawyer is highly recommended, as he can assist you in making informed decisions that will protect your interests, property and rights.
Avoiding Financial Pitfalls during your Divorce
- Inventory – When divorce is imminent, it is crucial to make an inventory of all artwork and accompanying documentation. Include in the inventory a list of who bought each piece, when it was purchased (i.e., before or during the marriage) and for how much, and any artwork that has been sold or is listed for sale and the values thereof. Depending on when the artwork was purchased, and by whom, may influence whether it is considered marital property. In turn, the classification of the artwork will affect how it can legally be distributed during divorce.
- Appraise – Never “guesstimate” the value of artwork on your own, as it may not hold weight in a court of law. Hire a professional appraiser who can provide you with a legitimate, accurate report on the value of your artwork. During divorce, the couple may agree on an appraiser as an expert, or can choose to hire two appraisers independently and compare the results during negotiations.
- Disclose – Never hide assets during divorce, including artwork. If it is later discovered that you hid assets during the divorce process, you may become subject to a lawsuit, and/or be required to part with your own assets to offset the value of what was hidden. Hidden assets may include physical property and monetary assets such as financial accounts, investment property, etc.
- Work it Out – While coming to an agreement may sound difficult, it is often the best way to ensure that all assets are divided in a way that each individual can agree to. When couples cannot reach an agreement on their own, the decision of how assets, including artwork, are divided will fall to a judge. In order to maintain control over how artwork is divided, couples must work together through his/her respective attorneys to reach an equitable and amicable resolution.
If you are contemplating divorce and are concerned about the fate of your collection of artwork, or other assets, do not hesitate to seek the guidance of a professional who can provide you with sound legal assistance. Contact the Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. to schedule your initial consultation by contacting us at (561) 429-3924, or via email at [email protected]. At the Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A, we help clients throughout Palm Beach, Martin and Broward counties to solve the difficult dilemmas of property and asset division. We are dedicated to providing competent solutions that will meet the individualized needs of every client we serve. Call us today to schedule a consultation.