You may not have to think about Koons, Rembrandt or da Vinci should you decide to end your marriage; not many Ohio couples have to worry about distributing extensive fine-art investment holdings upon divorce. However, couples who share any type of challenging assets, such as real estate, unique artworks or antiques, might want to consider exactly how they assign dollar amounts during the property division process.
Artwork is notoriously difficult to value. Inexpert or slanted appraisals of sculpture, painting or even conceptual art holdings during discovery could lead you signing a wildly unfair divorce agreement.
You likely know the acquisition prices of all of your holdings, but your spouse’s representatives may attempt to argue that you overpaid. Furthermore, if one of your pieces would win more at auction today than it would have when you obtained it, your spouse’s team may attempt to diminish its potential value.
These often-combative valuation disputes are further complicated when there is no reasonably comparable recent auction information available. As discussed in a Huffington Post article, emerging and unknown artists tend to price their work based on simple formulae based on labor and materials involved in the creation of the item in question. Perhaps that was what it was worth to the artist at the time of sale, but your act of acquiring the piece could have conceivably increased its value by giving the artist exposure to your collector acquaintances, increasing demand.
It would be difficult to say exactly what your collection is worth on the current without liquidation, a step you are unlikely to want to pursue for the majority of your investments. Therefore, please do not consider this as legal advice. It is meant to be background information.