Board Certified
Family Law Specialists
Serving Northern California

Should you get your art appraised before divorce?

| Feb 7, 2020 | Complex Property Division |

You and your spouse were avid collectors of art. You collected it from unknown artists and from people who were fairly well-known in the art world. Today, you’re divorcing, but you have a problem. You have dozens of pieces that you feel are probably of little value, but your spouse wants to have them all appraised. Is it worth it? You know what they cost, so should you just divide them by their original value?

Everyone’s situation is different, but it’s usually smart to get a true appraisal on items that might have changed in value. There are a few ways to do this, but you and your spouse may want to consider hiring an appraiser who you both agree on. If you can’t find one who you’d like to work with, you can each hire an appraiser and then determine how to use the values that you’re given while dividing your property.

It is hard to come up with fixed values for artwork

You should know that art is subjective, and that’s why it can be hard to determine fixed values for any one piece. There are price guides that can be used for certain pieces, but others may require a direct appraisal by a specialist. An appraiser evaluates the piece for a fee. It’s important to find an appraiser who works with artwork in the genre that you own.

Once you have the values that your appraiser or appraisers have come up with, you need to decide which to use. If you have received only one value, it’s easy. If you have received two, then you may choose the highest, lowest or an average to use while dividing these assets.