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Dividing assets: Your art could be a marital asset

As an artist, one of the things you need is your artwork. That work may have the potential to sustain you and bring in an income. It's your creative outlet, and it has meaning to you. Even though it may not seem to be valuable monetarily in some cases, art is an asset and may be part of the property division process if you go through a divorce.

When it's time to split up, remember that anything created during your divorce may be considered to be a marital asset. That means that your spouse could choose to pursue your art during the settlement negotiations. What do you need to know about this process?

You can have your art appraised.

You can and should have your art appraised before you negotiate with your spouse. There are a few ways to appraise art, but you generally can work out a speculative value with the help of art appraisers. Once you know how much your art is worth, you can use that value to negotiate for assets you may want.

Not all art is a marital asset.

Of course, not all your artwork is considered a marital asset. If you made a piece before you got married, it would be considered separate property. If you have proof of the date the piece was made, then this can help you show that your artwork is from before your marriage and should not be divided in the divorce.

You cannot hide, destroy or sell your art to keep it out of division.

Hiding, destroying or selling your art during a divorce can cause a problem, so it's a good idea to keep all the art where it has been throughout the marriage. Failing to disclose where a piece is or selling a piece (if it's a marital asset) without disclosing the sale is not legal and could result in lawsuits from your spouse later on. Hiding assets also makes the court less likely to believe you when you make claims, because it hurts your reputation.

Your attorney can help you decide what to do if you have art that needs to be divided during your divorce. With the right values applied to the pieces, you could have a strong negotiating point.

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