If you are an artist or work in the art field for your career, then you should be aware that any art you make could be valuable and part of your property division discussions during your divorce. Whether you’re a famous artist or your spouse believes that your art may fetch a high price at auction, you should be aware that any art you purchased, made or received during your marriage could be subject to division during your divorce.
Many people believe that their personal artwork is their own property, but the reality is that anything of value can be divided during a divorce. For example, if you sell a few paintings every month and have two that you haven’t yet sold, an assessment of your artwork’s value may determine that each piece is valued at a certain amount that may be subject to division.
The value of that art won’t necessarily be what you’d like to sell it for, so how do you decide what it’s worth? You’ll need to get an appraisal. You can hire your own appraiser to work out the value of your property, or you can settle on a value with your spouse privately.
If you made your art, why doesn’t it belong to you?
When you’re married, all assets that you obtain or create during your marriage technically belong to both you and your spouse. This works to your benefit, too. For example, if your spouse builds furniture and has pieces that haven’t been sold, you may negotiate to keep some of those pieces or to receive a portion of their value in assets.
Remember that marriage is a partnership, so all of your assets should be considered shared if you didn’t own them before your marriage. If you do have artwork that you owned prior to marriage, you should do all you can to prove that you owned it previously. This will help you keep a larger portion of your assets so that you leave your marriage with more of what you entered into it with.
North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, so you won’t necessarily have to divide your property 50-50, but you should be prepared to fight for your fair share.