Divorce Often Breaks Up Valuable Art Collections
High-net-worth couples going through a divorce often face complex challenges when it comes to the division of marital property. Negotiating the disposition of real estate and financial assets could take months. In some cases, consensus cannot be reached, and a judge decides what is an equitable distribution of the marital estate. Couples who own valuable art often find it particularly difficult to reach a resolution that does not involve sale of the works and a split of the sale proceeds.
Some of the finest private art collections in the world have been dissolved in conjunction with the divorce of their owners. This includes the collection of Harry and Linda Macklowe, which featured works by Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Jeff Koons, with an approximate total value of $700 million. There are numerous reasons why judges sometimes order divorcing spouses to liquidate what they own and share the proceeds, such as:
- Impossibility of division — While funds from a bank account or the proceeds of a sale can be divided easily among divorcing spouses, ownership of a painting or sculpture is an all-or-nothing proposition.
- Appraisal disputes — Negotiations regarding property distribution usually only succeed if both spouses generally agree on the value of specific assets. This can be a serious obstacle in matters where precious artworks or antiques are at stake. In the Macklowes’ divorce, the appraisals from each side sometimes differed by millions of dollars.
- Emotional ties — Though works of art can be substantial financial investments, they also provide emotional pleasure to their owners. Each individual has their own unique taste and there might be many reasons that a divorcing husband or wife might value a particular painting, sculpture or photograph beyond the price it could fetch in a private sale or auction.
- Possible appreciation — Predicting the future value of a given artwork is nearly impossible. Many factors, including changing tastes might lead the sale price to spike or plummet shortly after the divorce is finalized. If a party to a divorce believes that the worth of a given item will rise or fall sharply, it makes it tougher to reach consensus on property distribution.
If the equitable distribution proceeding in your divorce involves valuable collections of art, antiques or vehicles, finding a way to maintain what you’ve accumulated could pose a serious challenge. At Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C., we have represented thousands of high-net-worth New York clients and have formulated detailed strategies to help them hold on to what is most important to them. To talk with an accomplished Long Island divorce lawyer about your particular situation and goals, please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online.