Art Work Valuation Is Contentious in High-Profile Divorces

High-profile divorces across North Carolina and the rest of the country are encountering a growing area of conflict regarding asset valuation: art. Works of art have been skyrocketing in value in recent years. This has complicated property division in divorce cases given its somewhat subjective evaluation process.

The value of an enormous art collection is at the center of the courtroom battle between a Manhattan billionaire and his wife. Attorneys for both parties have battled over dueling valuations of the large collection that includes works by Picasso, Twombly, Giacometti, Rothko and Warhol. The parties also disagree on which parties had the most active role in acquiring the collection. Some estimates peg the value of their art collection at $1 billion.

Artwork is no different than any other property acquired during a marriage. If the parties are unable to agree on a value in the course of a divorce, it may become necessary for each party to enlist an expert to determine the value of the art. Art evaluation is subjective and hotly litigated given how difficult it is to determine the value of a piece. Some couples have turned to prenuptial agreements. However, many courts find that standard prenups don’t have provisions covering artwork acquired during a marriage.

Determining a fair, accurate value of artwork acquired during a marriage is critical in obtaining an equitable division of property. An attorney with experience in complex property division may be able to help individuals obtain an accurate valuation of their artwork. In instances where the parties can’t agree on a value, an attorney may be able to obtain the desired property division through litigation.

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