Mississippi Divorce Attorney Discusses Art and the Marital Estate

There are many different types of assets that divorcing couples may have in their marital estates. From household goods and bank accounts to investment accounts and properties, each different type of property must be divided in a manner which is fair, in context with the overall property distribution. While some assets, like bank accounts, can be easily split in half or divided into any proportion of shares that the divorcing couple would like, there are other assets which are not so easily divvied up.

Some couples have one or two valuable pieces of art. Some have none at all. Other couples have fairly extensive art collections. When couples who own art divorce, the art is part of their marital estate and must be part of the overall property distribution.

Whether a couple owns one painting or several sculptures, it can be difficult for them to agree about who should get which pieces of art. Some pieces have been in families for a long time, and have sentimental value to one spouse for that reason. Other pieces may have been acquired during the marriage, and might hold significant meaning for one or both of the spouses. Complicating matters even more is the fact that pieces of art have value, and that value must be considered in light of the overall property distribution. Also, there may be possible tax consequences associated with art ownership and acquisition.

If you or your spouse bought or inherited pieces of art before you got married, those pieces are considered separate property and do not have to be divided along with the marital estate. Each party takes away from the marriage any separate property that they brought into it, unless the parties’ actions during the marriage essentially “made” it part of the marital estate. Also, in Mississippi, inheritances received during the marriage are often considered separate property, so if you inherited art during your marriage, you may be able to keep it as separate property.

If you and your soon to be former spouse own art as part of your marital estate, the first thing you should do is make a careful inventory of your entire collection, including photographs, information about when and how each piece was acquired. Each piece in your inventory should also have a current appraisal. Some couples choose an appraiser together, while others opt for separate appraisers.

After you and your soon to be former spouse know what art you have and how much it is worth, you can begin discussing how to divide your collection, in light of how you have decided to divide your other assets. Mississippi is an equitable distribution state, so couples must come up with an overall property distribution scheme that is fair.

Works of art are just one of many possible categories of items that a divorcing couple must decide how to divide. To learn more about how Mississippi Divorce Attorney Matthew S. Poole can help you, call our office today at (601) 573-7429 to schedule your free initial consultation.


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Mississippi Divorce Attorney Discusses Art and the Marital Estate
Mississippi Divorce Attorney explains how art is divided during property distribution in divorce.