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Dividing artwork can be tricky during divorce process

During the dissolution of a marriage in Massachusetts, emotions can run high even in cases that start out relatively amicable. This is especially the case when a couple has high-value assets they need to divide. One type of asset that can cause conflict during the divorce process due to its high value is artwork. The values of artwork have particularly skyrocketed recently, and in some cases, the works of art are more highly valued than the houses holding them.

When it comes to dividing artwork worth millions or billions, the process is similar to dividing kitchen appliances, from a legal standpoint. The two spouses have the option of trying to figure out on their own how to divide the artwork in a manner that pleases them both. They can do this through a process such as informal negotiations or mediation.

In some cases, the couple can reach an agreement on the division of the artwork. In this case, they can avoid the stress of going through divorce litigation. They also have the benefit of feeling more in control of the outcome of the property division aspect of the divorce.

However, not all couples in Massachusetts can come to an agreement on the division of assets during the divorce process. In this case, they must depend on a judge to divide their expensive artwork and other valuables for them. The downside of going to divorce trial is that the outcome can be unpredictable and may not necessarily be what one spouse or both parties would have preferred.

Source:, "In a High Profile Divorce, Who Gets the Art?," Julie Belcove, Jan. 10, 2018

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