Art or art collections can be another common, unique asset that comes up during a divorce or separation but can be very difficult to value or divide appropriately.  In most instance, an expert will need to be engaged to determine the value of the piece or collection.  A particular artwork could be something that has considerable value in the market or at auction, or it could be something that has little monetary value, but exponential sentimental value to one spouse or both.  This can make the process that much more difficult to deal with as an expert’s market valuation will not consider the sentimental or intrinsic value of the art or collection to these particular spouses.   Regardless, in Arizona, most artwork or collections will be presumed to be community property with each party having an equal interest in the same.  As such, the Court will not order that individual pieces be physically split or divided thereby destroying the work, but instead will divide up collections based on values for each piece and each party receiving an “equal” share, or in the case of a single work, award the piece to one party with a equalization (usually in the form of payment of money) to the other for their one-half interest in the value of the same.   

Couples who own considerable art pieces or collections should be prepared to provide as much information and documentation as possible to assist in the most accurate determination of the value.  Examples of important documentation are as follows:

  • Location where it was bought
  • Bill of sale
  • Certificates of Authenticity
  • Previous appraisal reports
  • Photographs of the art

A well-organized inventory of all art owned by the community will also make the valuation and division of the same much more fair and efficient. As with all assets, if the parties do not reach an agreement, the court will make the final decision. For this reason having an attorney by your side can make the world of difference when it comes to your prized artwork and other possessions.

If you find yourself or a loved one are involved with a divorce with unique assets and need the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.994.8824 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.