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Who gets your artistic masterpiece after your divorce?

When you married your spouse, you agreed to share your life together. Part of the fun of your marriage was finding artistic masterpieces to acquire. Now that your marriage is on the rocks, however, you may wonder who gets the artwork after your divorce. 

Generally, divorcing spouses divide marital property equally. While splitting up cash is often simple, dividing meaningful property may trigger serious emotions. That is, if you or your soon-to-be ex loves the Jackson Pollack painting hanging in your entryway, you may have a difficult time deciding who should receive ownership of it. 

Take a comprehensive inventory 

If you were in a long-term marriage, you and your spouse may have acquired dozens of pieces of art. Before you can decide who gets what, you must know what is in your collection. Therefore, try to take a comprehensive inventory of all your artwork. If you can, document when you purchased each piece. If you have sold any art since you separated from your spouse, be sure to document the sale price. You may need this information to equitably split proceeds from the sale. 

Seek an appraisal 

Unlike cash and other assets, valuing art can be challenging. While some buyers may pay a fortune for your piece, others may have no interest in it at all. As such, you may have to wait a significant amount of time to find the right buyer. Nonetheless, you should attempt to find out how much your collection is worth on the art market. Both you and your spouse may want to hire independent appraisers to increase your chances of receiving a realistic valuation. 

If you love a piece of art, you may want to keep it after your divorce. You should, however, prepare yourself to offset the value of the masterpiece when dividing other property. By understanding how much your collection is worth, you position yourself to reach an acceptable agreement with your spouse.

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