The fate of your art collection in a Virginia divorce
Photo of Attorneys T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez walking outside.
Photo of T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez

The fate of your art collection in a Virginia divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2023 | Family Law

A good piece of art can bring you emotional satisfaction and pleasure. But, besides that, people also buy them for their great intrinsic value and tax advantages. As such, they are subject to equitable division upon divorce in Virginia.

Art is an asset

According to family law, most pieces of art are assets subject to division. The defining factor here is that one or both of you must have purchased the artwork with marital funds and during your marriage. If you received it as a gift or inheritance or bought it before getting married, then it’s usually considered to be separate property and remains in the possession of the original owner.

Evaluating art pieces

A professional appraiser can evaluate an art piece based on factors like historical relevance, current market trends and condition. The court will often hire an appraiser, but separating couples can also hire one if they want to, especially in cases where there is a disputed issue.

Dividing the art collection

With appropriate appraisals in hand, the court will then divide the art collection into two parts. It will split the assets’ worth according to a reasonable agreement between the parties. That means that one of you may receive some of the pieces outright while you can split others at an agreed-upon percentage.

There are also options like buying out your ex-partner or exchanging art pieces for other assets of equal value. If the court decides that selling the art is the best option, they will often require both of you to sign off on it.

Taxes and extra costs

If your art collection is worth more than what it cost when you bought it, it may be subject to capital gains taxes when selling it to split the proceeds. Moreover, the court may also consider additional expenses like storage and insurance costs when dividing the art collection.

Art is a very valuable asset that requires special consideration when dealing with divorce proceedings in Virginia. It helps to have any pieces you own professionally appraised. Create an agreement on how to split the assets without putting yourself at a disadvantage.