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How is art divided in a marriage?

People collect many things in life. Sometimes, these things have monetary value and sometimes they have sentimental value. When it comes to dividing these things in a divorce, sometimes – when both spouses are sentimentally attached to something – it can be very difficult to divide them. For example, imagine you have painting hanging over the fireplace and you and your spouse both want to keep during your divorce proceedings. What can you do?

If you owned the painting before your marriage, it's likely that you'll have the right to keep it. If the painting has increased significantly in value during your marriage, you may need to compensate your spouse for part of the amount of the increase.

If you and your spouse bought the painting together, we have a more complicated scenario in which both spouses have the right to claim ownership. The best solution to this scenario involves the spouses agreeing to a fair way of compensating the spouse who doesn't get to keep the painting. Maybe the spouse who doesn't receive the painting will get to keep a different painting of equal monetary and sentimental value. Maybe the spouse who keeps the painting will allow the other spouse to receive more money and investments in the asset division split.

In most cases, regardless the asset division disagreement, the spouses will be able to explore various solutions to the issue so that they're both treated fairly. If you are facing such an asset division dilemma in your divorce, you might want to investigate state asset division laws and the various division strategies available to spouses.

Source: Findlaw, "The Findlaw Guide to Divorce and Property Division," accessed June 14, 2018

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