divorce art collection

Dividing Art Collections in High Net Worth Divorces

High net worth divorces in Birmingham, AL often involve a unique array of assets that aren’t commonly seen in other marriages. If you and your spouse have built up an impressive art collection during your time together, you may be concerned about its fate during your divorce. Beyond the aesthetic value of art, it has significant financial value. It’s not uncommon for art collections to become a point of contention during high-asset divorces, with both spouses fighting bitterly to keep the collection.

Consider the differences between art and other assets; if you lose part of your retirement account, you can eventually replenish it through careful saving and hard work. If you lose your marital home, you can find another home of similar value and aesthetic appeal. On the other hand, getting a prized piece of art is often a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Losing it in divorce may mean losing your chance at owning it forever.

High-asset divorces have specific challenges and needs that aren’t found in other divorces. It’s important to work with a high-asset divorce attorney in Birmingham who can help you fight for what you deserve. Call Kirk Drennan Law at 205-953-1424 to set up a consultation now.

Fair Valuation and Appraisal of Artwork

One of the most important aspects of dividing up artwork is securing a fair valuation. This is more complicated than valuing assets like homes and vehicles, which tend to be fairly straightforward. Artwork’s value lies in its scarcity, the reputation of the artist, and a number of factors beyond your control. You’ll need to consult a professional art appraiser for an accurate appraisal. If you and your spouse disagree on which appraiser to use, you may either compromise or both get your own appraisal. From there, you can meet in the middle if you choose.

During this stage, set aside time to gather all of the documentation you have for your Birmingham art collection. This is particularly important if you have popular pieces that are often the target of fraudsters. You must be able to verify the authenticity and value of each art piece before dividing it.

How Equitable Distribution Works for Art Collections

Like many other states, Alabama follows the principle of equitable distribution. Art will be divided in a way that is fair, not necessarily in a way that is equal. A number of factors may determine how your collection is divided.

Each partner’s contributions to the collection may be considered. If one partner purchased every piece or determined which piece to buy next, they may affect how the court divides the collection. The timeline of the art collection is also important. If some pieces were acquired prior to the marriage but others were purchased during the marriage, parts of the collection may be considered separate assets.

A lot comes down to who wants the art more. If one spouse is passionate about art, they may be willing to give up a lot more to keep the collection in their possession. On the other hand, a spouse who simply went along with their partner’s art hobby may be less inclined to fight for the collection.

What happens if neither party is particularly attached to the collection? If art collecting is something you and your spouse did together, neither of you may wish to keep those memories hanging on your walls. In these cases, it’s common to sell the pieces off and split the proceeds.

Preserving the Legacy of a Sizable Art Collection

For many divorcing spouses, preserving their art collection is a top priority. While some couples are happy to divide pieces in a way that is equitable, others are passionate about keeping the collection whole and undisturbed. This may be the case in your divorce if you have multiple pieces from the same artist, there is a specific theme in your collection, or you have spent considerable time curating your collection.

In some cases, keeping pieces together may even affect their value. Multiple pieces from the same artist may be worth more when they are kept together, which means they may lose value when they are split up piece by piece.

Discuss Your Legal Options with the Team at Kirk Drennan Law

There are lots of complex factors at play in a high-net worth divorce. It’s crucial to give yourself a head start by talking to a Birmingham, AL divorce attorney who can help you navigate this process. Call us at 205-953-1424 or call us online to set up a consultation now.

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