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How Is Fine Art Divided In A Florida Divorce?


If you have invested years and huge sums of money in collecting fine artwork, the thought of potentially losing it all in a divorce can be devastating. The process of dividing assets can be one of the most challenging and difficult aspects of a divorce; requiring couples to essentially deconstruct their life together piece by piece. If you are concerned about how divorce will impact your fine art, you are not alone, and we are here to provide you with answers. If you still have questions after reading this article, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our firm and schedule a consultation.

How is Art Divided in a Florida Divorce?

In order to understand how art is divided in a divorce, it’s important to understand how Florida divides all assets in a divorce. Unlike states that divide a couple’s property down the middle, Florida follows the equitable distribution method. This requires that instead of focusing on equal amounts, judges should focus on fairness. They are to consider a number of factors and rules in arriving at a division that is fair. For instance, they may decide that a 60-40 division of property is fair in some cases. In making this determination, the most relevant decision is how assets are classified, because only assets classified as marital property can be subject to division by the court. The court has no jurisdiction over separate assets. For this reason, it is critical to understand whether your artwork will be categorized as a separate or marital asset.

Is Fine Art a Separate or Marital Asset in Florida?

Fine art can be either a separate or marital asset in Florida, depending on the situation. Art acquired independently by either spouse prior to the marriage will be treated as a separate asset, whereas artwork purchased by either spouse during the marriage will most likely be treated as a marital asset. Artwork that was gifted to either of the spouses by a third party person, such as a family member or friend, will be classified as separate property, whereas artwork gifted from one spouse to the other will be categorized as marital property which is subject to division. If the artwork was received by either spouse through an inheritance, regardless of whether it was inherited before or during the marriage, it will be treated as a separate asset.

How is Fine Art Divided in a Florida Divorce?

If the artwork is determined to be marital property, the couple has the option to determine on their own how they want it to be distributed between them. If the parties have trouble coming to an agreement on their own, they can negotiate the distribution with the help of attorneys or a mediator. If the parties are still unable to agree the matter can be settled by a judge. In order for the judge to make a decision, the artwork will have to be appraised. This can be difficult as it is not always possible to accurately determine the value of a painting without selling it in order to determine its current value. Both parties are able to present evidence to establish the artwork’s value, but if the judge cannot come to a clear decision, the artwork may have to be sold so that its proceeds can be distributed.

Contact the Greater Orlando Law Firm to Schedule a Consultation

If you are going through a high-asset or diverse-asset divorce, the experienced Orlando divorce attorneys at Greater Orlando Family Law are ready to make sure that your assets and interests are protected. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.



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