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Beloved art collection complicates division of assets in divorce

Any divorce in the Queen Creek or Gilbert area requires the division of property. When couples have a high income or net worth, the division of property and assets tends to involve many complicated issues. In these cases, a more in-depth analysis and the expertise of property division professionals is often necessary.

A Washington state couple recently completed a high-asset divorce that involved not only a very significant stock portfolio and fortune, but also the division of a highly valuable art collection.

Handling their $102 million art collection was reportedly one of the most difficult aspects of their marriage dissolution. This is because an art owner may see the value of art in a number of ways--financial, sentimental, aesthetic, historical, and more.

Rather than one party keeping the entire collection and the other taking some other $102 million asset in exchange, the two decided to split the collection of 47 pieces evenly, with each party getting about $51 million worth. But, it wasn't easy.

The woman had emotional and visual attachments to certain works, while the man had more practical reasoning behind the paintings he wanted to keep; he wanted to fill a certain amount of wall space as well as end up with a certain number of very expensive works that he would use as collateral to obtain a line of credit.

In the end, with the assistance of a judge, she ended up with most of the pieces at the top of her wish list, while he ended up with enough to decorate the walls and secure credit.

Letting this issue go before a judge may have been a risky move for the couple, as they may not have been satisfied with the judge's division of the art collection. Luckily, the judge worked with the couple to come to an equitable split.

While most high-asset divorce cases in Arizona do end up requiring some litigation in family law court, many issues can settled prior to court with the assistance of experienced high-asset divorce attorneys.

Source: The Seattle Times, "The art of divorce: She gets the Monet, he gets the Renoir," Ken Armstrong, July 28, 2012

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