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San Marcos Texas Legal Blog

Dividing valuable collections in divorce

| Feb 12, 2021 | Divorce |

Some divorcing couples have accumulated large and valuable collections of artwork, antiques, rare books or other collectibles. These collections can have significant financial as well as sentimental value. They may represent years of scouring galleries, antique stores and bookshops throughout the world or perhaps just here in Texas.

If you each brought your own pieces of art or other collectibles into the marriage or one of you inherited them or received them as gifts from a third party, these items are probably going to be considered marital property. In Texas, that’s also known as community property.

If you were scrupulous about buying items individually after your marriage and documenting those purchases (which most people aren’t), you could make the case that those items are separate property.  However, if you paid for them from a joint bank account or credit card or used marital funds to restore some of the pieces, it could be argued that they are marital property.

If you already have an online inventory of these pieces for insurance, estate planning or other purposes, that’s a good place to start as you negotiate with your spouse about dividing any collections you have.

An appraisal may be necessary

If only one of you is interested in keeping them, that can make things easier. However, you’ll need to agree on their value or have them appraised so that whoever keeps them can give up something of roughly the same value.

It’s wise to start thinking about whether you want to keep all or part of a valuable collection. If it means more to your spouse, you can agree that they can keep it and ask for something else in return. Some collections lose their value when they’re divided, so that’s something to consider as well.

There’s a lot to think about, and it may be difficult to make a completely rational decision in the midst of a divorce. Your family law attorney can provide valuable guidance and help you work to seek your preferred outcome.