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How is art treated in a divorce?

While Silicon Valley is the heart of the technology industry, there are numerous people in California who hold art in high regard. Many of these people pay large sums of money to acquire and display prominent pieces of art in their homes or their businesses. Some may even support artistic endeavors and have their names associated with displays or art institutions. If a couple who is deeply entrenched in the world of art gets divorced, it can leave spouses wondering what will happen to their art. 

As explained by Town and Country magazine, marital contracts like a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement are recommended for couples who have or expect to obtain valuable pieces of artwork. A contract like these can not only identify ownership for those pieces already purchased but outline a method of assigning ownership for pieces to be obtained in the future.

For any art that is purchased after a couple has been married, documentation identifying not only the purchase amount and date but the method of purchase can be vitally important. The documentation should provide as much detail as possible about where the money came from to identify whether or not it is part of the marital estate. Art purchased with money from an inheritance, for example, may be the property of the person who inherited the money, for example.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in California some things to consider about how they may document art purchases or attempt to keep prized art possessions during a high-asset divorce.