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How do you deal with artwork in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2021 | Blog, Divorce

Residents of Bellaire and other nearby areas of Texas may want to learn more about how the law treats artwork as property during a divorce. What happens when one of the spouses is an artist or art dealer? You might want to understand more about how the valuing of an art collection during divorce.

According to the American Bar Association, artwork is property. However, in some cases, it may be a bit more complex. Some questions to ask to determine division include the following:

  • Was the artwork inherited?
  • Was it purchased during the marriage?
  • Has it increased in value?

What happens if one spouse is an artist?

Although the artist may think of the artwork as their creation (and their property) the court may view it differently. If the artist creates it during the marriage, it might be marital property, subject to the state’s rules. This goes for those that are art dealers as well as those who are artists.

Before the marriage

If artwork dates from before the marriage or after the date of filing, it may be non-property. This will be separate from consideration of the income of the artist or art dealer, however.

A split of art and rights

An artist divorcing may agree to own the artwork but agrees to give the copyright to their spouse, which may ensure increased income for this person. Because of this, property division will become even more complex, as intellectual property rights may become involved.

Artwork in a divorce is property. However, there are some interesting questions for consideration. When an artist or art dealer is one of the divorcing partners, it can become somewhat more complex. Additionally, the value of the art is a consideration during divorce, especially in high-value collections.


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