What happens to valuable artwork and collectibles in property division?

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man with hands between blocks splitting them

Even if your divorce begins amicably, the process can quickly become emotionally taxing when couples face critical decisions regarding the terms that will apply to the termination of their marriage. This includes custody, support, and property division. Dividing marital assets can lead to conflicts, especially regarding valuable possessions like artwork and collectibles. If you are worried about how your art collection and collectibles will be split during property distribution, contact a determined Suffolk County Divorce & Separation Attorney who can help safeguard your hard-earned assets.

How are valuable artwork and collectibles divided during a divorce?

When divorcing, all the assets you have accumulated during the marriage will be split between each party as they are considered marital property. New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning marital assets are divided fairly, not necessarily in an even 50/50 split. Any assets accumulated before the marriage are considered separate property, not subject to equitable distribution. Therefore, if the valuable artwork or collectibles were purchased outside of the marriage, the spouse who previously bought the item would retain full ownership. However, each spouse would be entitled to a share if purchased during the marriage.

Since they are considered passive assets, fine art, and collectibles must be valued during property division. Passive assets represent an asset that increases or decreases in value due to external market condition. Generally, passive assets are divided equitably between each party. To ensure each party receives a fair share, they will need the help of an appraiser to evaluate the market value to determine an item’s value.

Do I need to hire an appraiser?

Usually, each party hires an appraiser to determine the property’s value. Although this is common, it can make the process more tricky if the appraisers do not come to the same conclusion on the value of each item and there are substantial differences. (f this is the case, the court will likely order the artwork and collectibles to be sold to determine the exact value. The proceeds of the sale will then be split between each party.

To avoid this result, you should work together on determining the valuation of each piece of property. Essentially, you are better off deciding on which party should conduct the appraisal to avoid different valuations. If you leave the decision up to the judge, you risk a judicial sale.

If you are worried about how your valuable artwork and collectibles will be divided during property division, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of a skilled Suffolk County divorce & separation attorney from The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. who can help you safeguard your hard-earned assets.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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