If you own valuable art, whether you are an artist or collector, deciding who should receive it in your divorce may become contentious.
When you and your spouse can not agree on how to divide valuable assets, such as art, the court will make the decision based on the circumstances.
Art you owned before marriage or inherited
In Texas, the court makes a distinction between separate and marital property. Generally, property you own before marriage is separate property that you keep when you divorce.
The same is true for property you inherit. For example, if a relative leaves you a valuable sculpture, you can probably keep it in the divorce, even if you were married when you inherited it.
Art that has appreciated in value
If you purchase art before your marriage and its value increases over time, it will likely remain your separate property.
However, if you use marital resources to increase the value of an asset, it may become a commingled asset. For example, perhaps you purchased a painting before you were married. During your marriage, you spent money to restore or preserve it and its value increased. The painting is now a commingled asset because you used marital resources to improve it.
Art you created during your marriage
Most property you acquire during your marriage is marital property. If you are an artist, this may include artwork you produce. The court regards your artwork as property and will treat it as such in a divorce.
When your divorce involves collectible artwork and other high-dollar assets, it is important to understand how the law regards these assets. If specific pieces are important to you, you may need to make compromises elsewhere in order to keep them.