In a divorce, marital assets are split between both parties. The only time this isn’t done is when there is a mutual agreement written and signed by both parties. Without that, the divorcing couple has to go through mediation and a final hearing, if an agreement hasn’t been reached before then. The values of all types of marital assets are split, including homes, cars and even art and antiques.
The division of art and antiques is a bit trickier because they oftentimes come with emotional attachment. According to the Wall Street Journal, art collections have been involved in some of the most contentious divorce proceedings. Both parties spend a lot of money building these collections and, to most, they’re more than just money; they’re valuable assets that cannot be replaced or bought.
The idea of selling these precious items can be infuriating, causing more strife in an already intense situation. When faced with the possibility of selling high-value assets, it’s best to consult with a Florida divorce attorney who is well versed in the division of art and antique assets. During a divorce, these assets are appraised and then sold, then the money split between the two parties.
The following can be done to help prepare you for a divorce involving art and antiques:
Planning Before the Divorce
If you’re the party who is going to file for divorce, then it’s a good idea to start making plans for your art and antiques beforehand. High net worth divorces are normally very complex, so you need to develop a strategy to put yourself in the best position before the division of your property begins. It’s a good idea to do this even if you’re not sure you want to divorce yet.
So how do you plan? First, you need to take inventory of all your art and antiquities. This is especially important if you have a large collection of items big and small – you don’t want to leave anything out by accident. Make a detailed list of everything and make notes next to each item, such as whether it was bought before or after you were married and how much you paid for it.
If any of the art was sold while you were married, make a note of when you purchased the item, when it was sold and how much it was sold for. Any property that was bought before you were married is normally not considered marital assets. But don’t lie about your assets to the court. Make sure to disclose all artworks and antiques you have to avoid being accused of fraud.
Since the art still remaining will need to be appraised, you’ll both need to agree on the appraiser so there are no arguments regarding the value. The appraiser can also assist with moving the items without anything being damaged.
Antiques Belonging to Your Spouse
If the high-value antique collection in question belongs to your spouse, it’s still important to get your fair share. If it’s considered marital assets, then you have a right to that property. But in order to know what’s a fair share, you have to know the property’s value. Some parties learn later on that their spouse has a collection that’s worth thousands and sometimes millions of dollars. A baseball card collection, comic book collection, teacup collection or even a collection of antique fishing rods can be considered high-value after an appraisal. Make sure that you’re not giving away a fortune by agreeing to allow your spouse to keep certain assets without first knowing their value.
Antiques Increase in Value Over Time
The great thing about antiques, and why most people collect them, is that they continue to appreciate over time. Savvy Florida divorce attorneys will advise that you should seek to gain control over assets that appreciate, such as art and antiques, over those that depreciate, such as cars (unless it’s an antique car). It’s a good idea to work with an attorney who knows appraisers who can help you decide which assets are more valuable than others.
As a rule of thumb (whether you’re happily married or facing a divorce), you should update personal property appraisals every couple of years. It should also be done when you have a baby, a family member passes away or when you move to a new house.