Couples seeking a divorce in New Jersey have built entire lives together that suddenly have to be separated. Bank accounts and investments are easy to split, but what happens to material items like pieces of art?
A lot of times, that depends entirely on how much it is worth. Other factors may be taken into consideration – such as who invested more time or money into the collection – but it varies on a case-by-case basis.
How is marital property normally handled?
Marital property – including art pieces or full collections – could be considered anything that was acquired during the marriage. There are some exceptions to this rule though.
Any art that was acquired before the marriage – regardless if the couple was dating at the time – isn’t considered joint property. Depending on other factors, the art pieces might go directly to the individual that purchased them originally.
Anything that was left to an individual in an inheritance is, absent commingling and other factors, also safe from divorce property division. All other property that could be considered marital property is generally subject to equitable distribution, meaning the judge will make its decision based upon fairness.
How much is in the collection (and how much is it worth)?
A serious art collection will have records of when the individual pieces were bought, how much they were bought for, and their value at different points in time. The court may still order an appraisal of the collection.
The court will then look at how the art collection could be split up between the two spouses. Even individual property may be split between divorcing couples if it is considered to be high value.
There is no way to ensure that your art collection will be safe. It is important to take moves to protect it before filing for divorce.