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Advice for divorcing California couples who need to divide art

When going through a divorce in California, people may find that one of the most lengthy processes that they go through is in dividing their wealth and their assets. While most of this may just mean splitting up bank accounts, investments, and other tangible things that can be split in half with relative ease, what should people do when they need to divide things like art, which cannot be evenly divided? How do they decide who gets a sculpture or a painting?

One thing to remember is that this is not going to be a strictly financial decision, like dividing a savings account. Art collectors often feel emotionally attached to specific pieces, so couples will need to work to find solutions that make both sides happy, even if those solutions are not perfectly even from a financial perspective.

When doing this, the first step should be creating a complete inventory of all pieces of art in the home, leaving nothing out. After that, people should think about hiring appraisers so that they can learn the real financial value of the art. They should not assume that it is still worth what they paid for it, as the value of art can change.

For some couples, both the husband and the wife may want to hire an appraiser of their own to make sure that they trust the final figures.

When divorce comes, people who love their art collections need to make sure that they know what legal rights they have. They also need to know what options they have to get a fair, just outcome when everything has been finalized.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Tips for Dividing Art in a Divorce or Death" Daniel Grant, Sep. 21, 2014

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