Couples may find it difficult to divide an art collection in a divorce due to both financial value and emotional attachment. Although Florida law requires an equal distribution of assets, you may retain ownership of your art in certain circumstances.
Protect with a prenup
One of the best ways to ensure that your art collection remains your property involves the use of a prenuptial agreement. A valid prenup must disclose the entirety of your assets, and any missing pieces may become subject to a court’s judgment.
Marital vs. separate property
If you do not have a prenup, the court must decide whether your art pieces count as marital or separate property. In the state of Florida, only pieces classified as marital property qualify for property division. Since Florida requires equal distribution, the court may request that you divide the collection. Or you may need to sell the pieces in order to equally divide the profit.
If the court deems the property to be separate, you may retain ownership of the art and will not have to split the value of the art.
To qualify as separate property, your art pieces must meet the following requirements:
- You purchased the art prior to your marriage with your own funds.
- You received the art as part of an inheritance before or during the marriage.
- Someone gifted the art solely to you during your marriage.
In order to determine the ownership of the art, the court needs to see documentation proving ownership. The documentation should include the purchase date and cost. You may need to hire an appraiser to provide an accurate value of the art.
When going through a divorce, you should keep in mind that the court will view art as an asset. Although you may have an emotional attachment to the art, the court will not consider your attachment when dividing your property.