Clement Law Center your family law attorney
Free Initial Consultation
Our office is open. At Clement Law Center, the safety and wellbeing of our clients and employees come first. In response to COVID-19, court hearings and all conferences with client and prospective clients will be by phone. We are not conducting in-person court hearings or meetings. Our staff will often be working remotely during this time. Our office will be checking voicemail and will return client calls as soon as possible. We continue to offer free phone consultations.
We offer a 25% discount to First Responders and Health Care Workers
Attorney Bruce Clement headshot
Quality Representation & Individualized Advocacy You Can Depend On

Property division when one spouse is an artist

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2018 | Uncategorized

The inventory for property division during divorce may include a variety of personal items dearer to one spouse than the other. This may be especially true if these items are artwork created by one of the spouses.

It may seem as if these pieces should belong to the person who created them. However, just as earnings, investments, retirement accounts, insurance policies or a business become marital property when a spouse acquires them during the marriage, so does artwork. As soon as a spouse creates it, it becomes the joint property of both spouses. Therefore, the artwork is subject to division based on community property law, which involves equal rather than equitable division.


Determining the monetary value of each art piece is a critical step in the process. Without a dollar amount, equal division is not possible. Spouses want to find an appraiser who is an expert in that medium, if possible. The goal is to determine the fair market value, which typically involves the correct identification of the piece, assessment of its condition and whether people are likely to find it desirable.

Next, the appraiser needs to analyze markets where the artist could sell the piece and figure out what the piece is likely to sell for. Which market the appraiser ultimately uses can make a huge difference in the value of the object. For example, if the appraiser provides a dollar amount based on how much the piece may bring in at a famous auction house, that is likely to be significantly higher than the price a wholesaler may get for the piece.


In many cases, artists feel emotionally attached to their work and may be ready to give up almost anything else to keep it. It is a good idea to figure out ahead of time what assets the artist is willing to trade for the artwork. Having a dollar amount and a plan for negotiation may help keep emotion out of the discussion so the property division phase moves along smoothly.


Start Your Free Consultation

Our Office Locations

Federal Way Office
31919 1st Avenue South, Suite 103
Federal Way, WA 98003

Toll Free:888-351-6779
Phone: 253-954-3351
Fax: 253-815-8458
Federal Way Office Location

Seattle Office
3418 NE 65th St., Suite A
Seattle, WA 98115

Toll Free: 888-351-6779
Phone: 253-954-3351
Fax: 253-815-8458
Seattle Office Location

Bellevue Office
14777 NE 40th Street, Suite 206
Bellevue, WA 98007

Toll Free: 888-351-6779
Phone: 253-954-3351
Fax: 253-815-8458
Bellevue Office Location