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How is the value of art assessed during a divorce?

If you are getting a divorce and are an artist or collect art, now is the right to time get an appraiser to work with you and your attorney. An art appraiser is the only professional who can accurately place a value on a piece of artwork. While two appraisers may not agree on the same price, they should, in theory, come up with similar appraisals.

North Carolina uses equitable distribution rules for divorce. This means that you and your spouse need to split your assets up fairly, not necessarily evenly. For this reason, having a good appraisal for your artwork is a necessity. You need to know how much each piece is worth to be able to negotiate for a fair share of your marital assets.

How is art appraised?

Art is appraised based on the current market values of certain styles. The specific painter or artist who created the work is important, too.

During a divorce, it’s important for both you and your spouse to have your own appraisals done, unless you are satisfied with a single appraisal. If you do have two appraisals done, make sure you work out how to select which appraisal you’ll go with. Many people choose to add the two appraisals and then divide them by two to get the average value of the artwork.

Emotions could play a role in the value of art in a divorce

It’s true that emotions could play a role in the value of a piece of artwork. If one of you really wants one of the pieces, then even with an appraisal, you may place more value on that piece of work. This is where negotiating can get tricky, because the artwork does have an appraisal but may still be valued more by one party or the other.

If you’re negotiating over artwork in your divorce, talk to your attorney about how to get the most out of your discussions. With an appraisal, you’ll be able to have at least some leverage to negotiate for these and other assets. You may be surprised at just how much your collection is worth.

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