Valuing art before a high-asset divorce

There are many reasons to collect artwork. Whether art is your passion, you enjoy collecting interesting pieces or you are planning for the future, you and your spouse may have assembled a notable collection during your marriage. If you are heading for divorce court, though, you likely have to think about what happens to your art during your high-asset divorce. 

In New Jersey, judges use an equitable standard when deciding how to distribute marital property. As such, the judge in your matter has jurisdiction to determine how to deal with the artwork that jointly belongs to you and your spouse. Whether you plan to sell the art and split the proceeds or keep it and pay your spouse a fair share of the income, you must know how much your artwork is worth. 


As you may suspect, rarity often affects the value of a piece of art. If something is readily available or has otherwise flooded the market, it is not likely to have the same high value as a rare piece of art. Therefore, when considering the worth of your artwork, you must determine whether it is rare or common. 


A Picasso painting is likely to have greater value than a drawing you purchase from a neighborhood art fair. If you are fortunate enough to own a piece from a notable artist, you can likely look to sales of other work from the artist to gauge the value of your art. If the artist is obscure, though, determining art’s value may be more difficult. 


Even though unattractive pieces of art regularly sell at auctions around the globe, potential buyers tend to like art with pleasant subjects. Accordingly, even if you have an expensive piece, finding a buyer for art with an unideal subject may prove challenging. 

An art expert may help you come up with a realistic valuation for your art collection. Keep in mind, though, that there is often a difference between insurance value and sale value. Still, by understanding what goes into valuing art, you can better plan for dealing with a piece during your high-asset divorce.

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