Two wealthy art collectors are in the process of contentious divorce proceedings. The property in this divorce will be split according to equitable distribution, which is the same law that governs property division in Illinois divorces. In addition to millions of dollars of artwork, the New York couple is battling over real estate in Manhattan and the Hamptons. There is a good chance that private details about how the husbands runs his business will be exposed in these proceedings, which could also be costly.
One consideration in dividing artwork fairly is whether the artwork was part of the couple’s personal belongings or whether it was the property of a business. If it is the latter, the judge will need to determine how much each spouse contributed to the business in order to assess what property interest they each have in the artwork. To assist in the valuation process, the judge may order an appraiser to valuate the artwork.
To add to the difficulties in this divorce, the wife is alleging that her estranged husband removed $200 million worth of artwork from their home to conceal some of their martial assets. She also claims he hid money in an offshore trust. If the trust is deemed marital property, the court will be able to open it to access and distribute the funds.
High-asset divorces present many complications, particularly where one spouse is believed to be hiding assets. Additionally, since assets are not necessarily split 50-50, it important for individuals to advocate for themselves and note their contributions to the marriage to ensure they receive a fair portion. A family law attorney may assist an individual in the divorce process and be a strong advocate in these matters.