Going through a divorce forces you to make many difficult decisions, such as what assets you will concede to your spouse while determining what you want to fight for. One thing that may not be as easy to split is works of art or other collectible items. This is because many steps must be taken to determine the value to make the distribution of these assets fair under New Jersey law. The following blog explores what you must know about how artwork and other assets are handled and why you need Somerset County property distribution attorneys to assist you during this process.
How Are Artwork and Other Collectables Valued?
It’s essential to understand how pieces of art are valued before they can be distributed during a divorce.
Unlike a business or life insurance policy, artwork is considered a passive asset. This is because the value of the asset is dependent on external market conditions as opposed to one party contributing to the asset.
Generally, both parties must agree on an appraiser who will determine the value of the asset. Unfortunately, two spouses may not agree on the appraisal, so it’s not uncommon for two inspections to occur. Generally, the couple will value the item at the average between the two outcomes.
How Will These Assets Be Divided?
Before determining how an asset will be divided between spouses, you must first figure out whether or not it is marital property. Generally, any asset acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. However, if the artwork was inherited by one spouse or purchased before the union, they may be able to protect it as separate property.
It is important to note that if an asset is deemed separate property increases in value throughout the marriage, the spouse may be entitled to the increase in value. For example, if you have a record collection that is separate property worth $10,000 at the start of your marriage, it may increase in value by an additional $5,000. Your spouse would be entitled to a portion of that $5,000 increase under New Jersey’s equitable distribution statute.
If the artwork is deemed marital property, the value of the appraisal will be taken into consideration. Usually, one spouse will want to keep the artwork, so their spouse will receive an asset of equal value to the piece of art. However, if both spouses want the artwork or collection, their lawyers may be able to work out a compromise where one spouse receives something, like the family home, in exchange for their spouse keeping the artwork, even though they are of drastically different monetary value because the art holds considerable sentimental value for the other.
As you can see, these are exceptionally complex issues. It’s imperative to contact an experienced divorce attorney to help you navigate these legal matters to ensure you receive a fair share of assets when divorcing your spouse. At the Siragusa Law Firm, our dedicated team can help you navigate these issues to fight for the assets you deserve. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.