Getting a divorce can be stressful, and depending on the circumstances, complicated as well. One aspect that is often difficult for divorcing couples to work through is how to split up hard-to-value assets.

Most jurisdictions’ laws treat artwork as marital property. The one aspect of these assets that makes things difficult for divorcing spouses is that artwork is often hard to value. There are many reasons why this is the case.

If one of the spouses is an artist, then they may consider their artwork as personal, not marital property. Artists often especially feel this way about unsold artwork. However, courts consider all property acquired or created during the marriage to be marital. Thus, a monetary value needs to be assigned to family artwork for it to be divided up or sold. The same even needs to happen with copyright rights to the artwork as those are marital property too.

If one of you created the artwork before the marriage, then the judge might not consider it as community property. The court may also exclude any payments, commissions and licensing agreements that were received or entered into before your marriage from being regarded as marital property as well.

An artist must make a complete inventory of their work before getting divorced. This listing should include a list of pieces made both before and during the marriage. You’ll want to add the price the pieces sold for or their appraised value as well. You must disclose the location of all artwork created during the marriage. Failure to do so could potentially expose the artist spouse to future litigation.

A professional appraiser should be assigned to value any unsold artwork created during the marriage. Although both you and your spouse can each select your expert, you must ultimately agree to a fair value somewhere in the middle. You can’t loan, sell or destroy any artwork that the court may consider as marital property until the judge has issued your divorce decree.

If you’re going through a divorce here in Columbus and have artwork or other marital property that’s subject to division, then you may be in for an uphill battle when it comes to valuing and splitting it up. An attorney with extensive experience in handling dividing up hard-to-value assets is who you’ll want to represent you in your Ohio divorce case to achieve the best possible result.