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Is your artwork at risk due to divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2018 | Blog |

As an artist, you likely have worked most of your life to develop your style and to find success in such a challenging profession. Nonetheless, you may have succeeded in a manner that allows you to feel accomplished while also allowing you to obtain an income from your work. While it may seem like a dream come true, you may have concerns now that you are going through divorce.

Depending on the amount of success and attention your artwork has garnered, you may find yourself looking at a high-asset divorce. Because artwork is also a complex asset that needs valuation and other consideration, it may prove difficult when it comes time to divide assets. Though you may not consider your work as property, the court and Texas state law likely does.

What counts as marital property?

You may fear that you could lose some of your work that you hold dear, and unfortunately, that possibility does exist. However, any artwork created before you got married or after your separation will likely remain separate property, and as a result, it will likely remain yours.

In order to have a firm grasp on what may count as separate property and what may count as marital property, you will need to create an inventory of your work. This inventory should include information regarding the following:

  • Artwork created before the marriage
  • Artwork created after the marriage
  • Pieces that have sold
  • The prices of sold pieces
  • Pieces that have not sold
  • Location of artwork

The location of the artwork is important because if you attempt to hide pieces of your work or otherwise not fully disclose relevant information, you could risk losing those assets.

How should work be valued?

Artwork tends to be a complex asset because determining value can prove difficult. However, a value will likely need applying to your inventory. In order to come to this valuation, a professional appraiser or gallery owner may need to conduct an evaluation. Of course, this task can become even more difficult when it comes to determining value for new pieces or works that you have not yet completed.

How can you protect your work?

As with any type of property division, you have the opportunity to create an argument as to why certain property should remain yours. In a best case scenario, you may have created a prenuptial agreement that addressed how your art should be divided in the event of divorce. If not, however, you still have options for negotiating, and information on these options may prove useful to you.