How do you divide art during a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2021 | Divorce |

As a collector, you buy art that appeals to you directly. As an investor, you buy art you expect to appreciate in value. 

Most people are a little of both: collector and investor. Understanding why you acquired your pieces in the first place could help when it comes time to divide them during a divorce. 

Understanding costs

Of course, division is not the only concern. One of the most universal concerns in high-asset divorce is taxation. As explained on FindLaw, the capital gains tax sometimes works counter-intuitively when using certain types of wealth transfer methods with these types of assets. 

The IRS does not want to make divorce any costlier than it already is. The service also does not give you a free pass on appreciated value in your assets, such as art or securities. Getting a fair deal often means balancing the costs associated with transfer. 

Determining value

Valuation has a strong relationship with taxation when it comes to works of art, as do market conditions. While details are important, it is often also useful to look at appraisals from a goal-oriented perspective, placing them in the context of your intents for the work. 

Saving what you love

If you are neutral about your collection, then it is likely that you could do most of your calculations on paper. Some might be able to treat individual works as line items on a ledger. However, passionate collectors might have to do some soul-searching. 

Once you determine the market value, tax impact and personal importance of your collection, then you might be ready to begin negotiations with your spouse’s legal team. Sometimes, solutions must be as creative as the works of art themselves.