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Dividing Priceless Art Collections in an Austin High Asset Divorce

Posted on in Complex Property Litigation

TX high asset divorce lawyerWhile the art scene in Austin is not quite like the art scenes in New York or London, many Austin residents have large collections of valuable artwork, including sculptures, paintings, and other art objects. Many married couples in Austin collect art together, and their homes are filled with their collection. In the event such a married couple decides to get divorced, the matter of the art collection can become extremely contentious. Dividing an art collection can be quite a battle, especially when the parties do not want to see the collection divided at all. To be sure, many people who collect art feel that the collection is priceless and do not want to see any of it sold or distributed. Yet in a high asset divorce in Austin, all community property will need to be distributed between the spouses. And while the parties may personally believe that the collection is priceless, it is possible to place a market value on almost any work of art for the purposes of dividing it in a divorce. Let our Texas high asset divorce lawyers tell you more about dividing art collections in a Texas divorce.

Recognize That the Whole Collection May Be Community Property

As you may know, Texas is a community property state. What does this mean for a high asset divorce and an expensive art collection? Under Texas law, nearly all property (aside from a few exceptions) acquired after the date of the marriage is classified as “community property.” In a Texas divorce, all community property is divided between the spouses. For many married couples in Austin who have been collecting art for years or even decades, most if not all of the collection is likely to be classified as community property and will be divided as part of the divorce.

Determine the Date of Purchase and Other Documentation

If you believe that one or more pieces in the art collection are not community property, you will need to get documentation to prove it. If you purchased the painting prior to the marriage, it is important to find any receipts you have for the piece. Even if you cannot locate a receipt, it may be possible to work with your Austin divorce attorney to gather evidence that proves the painting was in your possession long before you got married and that, accordingly, it should not be part of the division of community property.

Keep in mind, however, that if you paid for the painting to be restored after the date of marriage and it increased in value as a result, part of its value could in fact be classified as community property.

Make a Record of the Collection If You Have Not Already

In particularly contentious divorces, one of the parties might attempt to hide assets. If your art collection is large enough that you may not be able to recall every single item, now is the time to make a complete and detailed record of every piece in the collection if you have not done so already. Identify the piece, its title (if it has one), where it was purchased, the cost of purchase, and any other relevant information. Having this record can help your lawyer to locate any missing pieces of the collection.

Higher an Experienced Appraiser

Any valuable art collection should be properly appraised. Even if the collection was appraised recently, market values can shift quickly. A divorce is an important time to work with an experienced appraiser who can provide you with a clear estimate of the market value for each piece.

Work with an Austin High Asset Divorce Lawyer

Are you going through a high net worth divorce and anticipating that your art collection will be divided? An aggressive Austin high asset divorce attorney can help you. In addition to property division, an experienced complex child custody attorney at our firm or complex litigation attorney at Powers and Kerr, PLLC can assist with your case. Contact Powers and Kerr, PLLC online or call us today at 512-610-6199.




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