Property division is one of the most complex aspects of many Ohio divorces. When you think of property division, you most likely focus on things like your house, cars or investment accounts.
Many other types of personal property can also be considered marital property, and this can include artwork. You and your spouse may have acquired artwork throughout your marriage. These items must be valued and divided just like the rest of your property.
Locate all pieces of art and make a list
As you begin the property division process, identify and list all pieces of artwork considered marital property. If you are worried that your spouse may hide or sell the items, take pictures and consider using art inventory software to upload documents related to the artwork, such as receipts or old appraisal reports.
Be careful if you sell a piece of art after your divorce has begun, but before it is finalized. Just because the art is gone does not remove it from the marital property mix. Any proceeds you received from the sale may be marital property subject to division.
Once you have your list ready, share it with your spouse or their attorney. Ideally, you and your spouse will agree that the list is accurate. Remember that pieces of art bought by one of you before the marriage, or after your separation, could be considered separate property, depending on the circumstances.
You can have one appraisal or two separate appraisals
Appraising the art is your next step. You and your spouse can agree to use one appraiser and accept their values, or you can each choose your own appraisers and compare values.
After each piece is valued, your artwork can be divided. This can sometimes be the most emotionally difficult part, since you may have pieces that have great sentimental value for you, but that your spouse may also want.
Divorce always involves compromise, and the reality is that you probably won’t walk away with everything you want. Having someone to advocate for you and fight for your legal rights can increase your chance of a satisfactory outcome.