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How is artwork valued during a divorce?

While property division is rarely easy during a divorce, dealing with valuable artwork is particularly challenging. In most cases, couples need to determine how much a piece is actually worth so it can be split between them equitably by the court. Art Law Journal offers the following insight into the valuation process so you can rest assured of a fair outcome. 

Keep in mind that all artwork made or purchased prior to a marriage will be the property of the person who purchased or created it. The only artwork in question during the property division process are those pieces that originated during the course of the marriage. Any pieces that fall into this category should be inventoried so they can be properly evaluated to determine their worth. 

This is often a difficult process, as there are a lot of factors that determine just how much a piece of art is actually worth. The professional appraiser will look at the sale background of the artist, which is based on the sale of previous works created by that person. They will also look at whether it's probable to assume that the artist will continue to ascend in the world of art, which means that any works already created will appreciate in value. These questions are often up for interpretation, and one appraiser may give a different value when compared to another. For this reason, some couples opt to have two separate appraisers evaluate the work. 

When you're the creator of art, the process becomes even more complex. That's because you're the owner of the copyright on the piece, which means it can't be sold or distributed by another party. You can devise a contract in which those rights are transferred, however, which should be conducted with the assistance of an experienced attorney. 

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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