Florida law calls for an equitable distribution of marital assets in a divorce. Therefore, it’s possible that you will cede some or all of your art collection as a consequence of ending your marriage. However, depending on the details of your case, it’s possible that you won’t lose anything at all. This may be true if the art is kept in a trust or is otherwise labeled as your sole property.
If you acquired a painting, sculpture or other work of art prior to getting married, it will likely be classified as a separate asset. However, an exception may be made if joint money was used to house, ship or maintain your collection or specific pieces within it. In some cases, appreciation of the asset during your marriage may also be considered joint property.
Placing assets in a trust
An asset that is held in a trust is typically considered to be outside of the marital estate. However, this may not be true if there is reason to believe that the trust was created for the purpose of shielding marital property. A judge may invalidate a trust if it is created too close to the date of the divorce or if there are other reasons to believe that it was created in bad faith.
Dividing joint property
In the event that an art collection is considered to be joint property, there are a few ways to account for it in a divorce settlement. First, you may agree to waive your right to it–or certain pieces of it–in exchange for other items such as a car or retirement account.
During divorce proceedings, it may be worthwhile to have an art collection or other assets appraised. The appraiser’s notes may be included as evidence that might help when sorting assets. Purchase records, bank statements and other evidence may also help you obtain an equitable settlement.