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Artwork can become the focus of complex property division

There are many elements of a divorce, any of which can be a sticking point for the parties involved. Although many California couples find themselves bickering over all family law issues, a significant number find themselves focusing on one issue, such as child custody or alimony. Property division, though, can be one of the most difficult issues to ensure is dealt with fairly. After all, the way that property is divided may reshape one's life post-divorce.

In a high-asset divorce, it can be challenging to identify and value all assets and divide them. One asset that can be especially difficult to deal with is artwork. Why? Simply because the valuation of art is a subjective process. This can lead to highly contentious litigation where each side puts forth experts to proclaim the value of the property in question. Yet, the only true way to know the value of a piece of art is to sell it, which many art collectors, as well as those who have sentimental attachment, don't want to do.

This challenging issue is being seen more frequently across the United States, with millionaires and billionaires such as George Soros's son seeking in a divorce. Oftentimes these individuals try to preempt any dispute over artwork by including it in a prenuptial agreement, but unless these agreements are carefully drafted and all parties sign off with full knowledge of what they are getting into, they do not always hold up in court.

The cost of art continues to rise, although it can fluctuate across time, making this issue of valuation even more difficult. However, since art can wind up being worth as much, if not more, than a couple's home, it is critically important to ensure that the matter is dealt with competently. Therefore, whether an individual is seeking to avoid having to fight over art in the future by entering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or he or she needs to put forth expert witnesses to obtain an accurate valuation during litigation, a skilled divorce attorney may be of assistance.

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