Your greatest joy throughout your marriage was being able to put together a collection of art from modern-day masters. You have spent thousands on the artwork you collected. You paid for everything out of pocket and used your own earnings to cover the expenses.
Now, as your spouse wants a divorce, you find that they also want to take their share of this artwork. Many of the pieces have appreciated, and you could make a significant amount of money if the pieces were to be sold.
It just makes sense, in your opinion, that you would get the pieces since you spent your own money on them. In California, however, your marital assets are subject to equal division. What can you do to protect your right to your artwork?
Negotiate for your art
The first thing you need to do is to find out how much each piece is worth. Then, you can begin to negotiate with your spouse to keep the artwork that you want. For example, if your collection is worth $50,000 and you stand to earn $50,000 from the sale of your family home, you may give up your profits from your home’s sale in exchange for keeping your artwork.
The court generally likes to see couples split their assets evenly, but that does not mean that your art collection should be divided. The court looks at overall value.
If you do have to go to court and want to fight for your collection, then present proof that you paid for the items and collected them with your own money. This may help the judge rule that you keep them in your possession.