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Artwork is divisible during a high-asset divorce

If you’re an artist and plan on getting a divorce, don’t forget that your artwork might become a valuable asset. It doesn’t matter if you plan to sell the work or even if you’ve sold it in the past. Artwork can be valued and could make an impact on your divorce negotiations.

In many cases, artists don’t think about their artwork as an asset. It’s their own creation, so they perceive the work as separate property. The truth is that if the artwork was created during your marriage, it’s actually shared property in most cases. That means your spouse has an equal claim to your work, whether or not you find that appropriate.

Fortunately, not all art is up for division during the divorce. If there are items that you created before you got married, those pieces are separate property. Any work you create after your separation or divorce is also yours separately.

What can you do to make sure everything that is yours stays in your possession?

You can negotiate for your works created during your marriage if you have the pieces appraised. It’s a good idea at that stage to consider selling the works and splitting the funds. If you don’t want to do that, use the value of the work to negotiate for trade.

Remember to write down the names and selling prices of all the pieces you sold. Also, keep an inventory of your current artwork, so it is easy to locate during the divorce. If you hide artwork or fail to disclose it, you could face trouble in the future. Undisclosed assets paid out to your spouse could cost you up to 100 percent of the piece’s value.

As an artist, you want to know your art is protected. Take steps to identify and appraise it now, so you know where you stand during high-asset divorce.

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