Expensive taste in art? Here’s how to divide it in divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2021 | Divorce

If you and your spouse have lived a wealthy lifestyle, then it’s possible that you have expensive artwork that you now need to divide during your divorce. The beauty of art is often in the eye of the beholder, but not having a specific appraisal on that work could hurt you during your divorce case.

In Washington, you’ll be expected to divide your assets in a fair, equitable manner. To do that with artwork, the first thing you’ll need to do is to reach out to an appraiser. You and your spouse may both want to do this while you are focusing on dividing your property, because you could be surprised at the difference in opinion two appraisers may have.

How should you select an appraiser?

To get started, you should select an appraiser who is near you and who is qualified to appraise the kind of artwork you possess. Someone who is familiar with modern art won’t necessarily be able to appraise Renaissance works, for example, so choose an appraiser who knows the industry and field.

When you reach out to an appraiser, find out what their appraisal rates are. Expert appraisers might be able to complete an appraisal faster and more accurately, but general appraisals can also work. Appraisals usually cost anywhere from $25 to $300 per hour, so think about the expected value of the artwork before you pay.

Why is it a good idea to have two appraisals?

Unless you and your spouse are able to agree on a single appraiser, it’s smarter to have two appraisals and to compare them. You can then find the average value, which lets you determine how much you want to value the asset at for the purposes of your divorce.

Does emotion play a role in asset divisions involving art?

To a degree, emotion may play a role in the division of these works. One of you may feel more fondly towards certain pieces than others. Despite that, it is important to get an official art appraisal, because this artwork is an asset that could be sold in the future for a profit.