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Dividing an art collection in a New Jersey divorce

On Behalf of | May 23, 2023 | Divorce

A divorce involves the division of marital assets, a process that can become complicated when it comes to unique items such as art collections. An art collection often has both significant financial value and sentimental value, making it a contentious issue in a divorce.

In New Jersey, specific laws and principles govern the process of dividing an art collection in a divorce. This article will guide you through these key considerations.

Equitable distribution in New Jersey

New Jersey follows the principle of equitable distribution when dividing marital assets in a divorce. This means that the court will divide assets in a manner that is fair, but not necessarily equal. The court considers various factors, including the length of the marriage, the financial situation of each party and the value of the assets.

Determining the marital property

The first step in dividing an art collection is to determine whether it is marital property. Artwork acquired during the marriage typically falls into the marital property category. Artwork acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gift is generally separate property, although there are exceptions.

Valuing the art collection

Valuing an art collection can be complex. It typically requires the services of a professional art appraiser who can determine the fair market value of each piece. The appraiser should be knowledgeable about the specific type of art in the collection.

Options for division

Once the appraiser determines the value of the art collection, there are several options for division. One spouse may buy out the other spouse’s interest in the collection. Alternatively, the spouses may agree to sell the collection and split the proceeds. In some cases, the court may choose to divide the collection between the spouses, with each receiving pieces of equivalent value.

The goal is to achieve an equitable distribution that takes into account the unique value and significance of the art. While this process can be complex, a clear understanding of the considerations involved can help ensure a fair outcome.


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