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Complications with art collections in a divorce

Division of property in some Florida divorces can be complex. For example, some couples may have art collections to split, and this could lead to complications in determining the value of the collection and who purchased the artwork. Others may have prenuptial agreements, but if they do not specifically address the art collection, these complications could remain.

In one divorce case, a woman who was a trustee for two major art museums and her husband, a real estate developer, owned works by Rothko, Warhol and other major artists. However, appraisals of the collection estimated its value from $1 billion to hundreds of millions dollar less. Furthermore, despite the woman's position in the art world, her husband claimed to have paid for at least some of the art.

In New York, a precedent was set by a case in which the couple's prenup did not specifically address what to do with the art collection. One court accepted bills of sale for $22 million worth of art from the husband, but an appeals court said that invoices were not sufficient evidence. Complications can also arise if one person is a dealer or an artist because it may be difficult to determine whether art is owned by a business or an individual. Another issue is what happens to a wing named for a couple that divorces.

Art is not the only type of property that could create complex issues when it comes to divorce. People who own real estate, businesses or other complex investments might want to contact a Venice, Florida, property division law firm to discuss how the process might go. For example, even if only one spouse owns a business, the other person might have a claim on it. Couples may also need to decide whether to sell property and split the proceeds or have one person keep it.

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