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What Happens to Fine Art in an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County Family Law AttorneyFor art lovers, an art collection is much more than an assemblage of art. It is an emotional connection, a source of pride and joy, and a representation of their investment in the world of art. Fine art may also be one of the most valuable assets a person owns. If you or your spouse have an expensive art collection and you plan to divorce, it is important that you understand how the artwork will be handled during the property division phase of the divorce process.

Classification and Ownership of Fine Art in a Divorce

Fine art may be classified as marital property or non-marital property in a divorce. If a spouse owned a piece of art before getting married, the artwork is typically non-marital property. Art may also be classified as non-marital property if it is excluded from the marital estate through a prenuptial agreement. If a spouse purchased or received a piece of art during the marriage, it may be classified as marital property in an Illinois divorce. If artwork is a marital asset, both spouses have an ownership interest in it, and the spouses will need to divide the value of the asset between themselves during the divorce.

An Accurate Appraisal is Crucial

Before any artwork can be divided between the spouses, it is important that the art is properly valued. Art appraisals should be performed by a professional and should consider factors like size, age, condition, artist’s reputation, and overall market demand. Any appraisal used in an Illinois divorce should reflect the current fair market value of the art.

Options for Dividing Fine Art in a Divorce

There are several ways that fine art can be divided during an Illinois divorce. Some couples decide that one spouse will keep some or all of the art collection and the other spouse receives other marital assets to compensate him or her for his or her share. Other spouses split individual pieces of art between themselves. Divorcing couples also have the option of selling the art collection and using the proceeds to pay off joint debt or start their post-divorce lives with some extra financial security.

If the couple cannot agree on how to handle artwork during the divorce, a judge may have to make the decision for them. The court will consider factors such as the financial needs of each spouse and non-financial contributions that each spouse made to acquire the artwork when making a decision.

Contact our DuPage County Property Division Lawyers

At Goostree Law Group, we help divorcing spouses address complex financial and legal matters, including valuation and division of fine art. Call our skilled Wheaton divorce attorneys at 630-364-4046 for a free consultation.




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