The state of California is a community property state, which means that assets within a marital estate are divided evenly in a divorce. Generally speaking, an art collection might be considered a joint asset if it were acquired after marriage became official. However, there are other variables that must be considered before determining if this is true in a given divorce case.
Who owns the art collection?
The most important variable to consider when determining if an asset should be considered joint property is who owns it. If the art is held in a trust, it is generally perceived to be held outside of the marital estate. Therefore, it’s unlikely that such a collection would be subject to state property division laws.
Was the collection included in a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement may be used to reclassify joint property as separate property. A postnuptial contract may also be used for such purposes if it’s impractical to execute a deal before a wedding takes place. In lieu of classifying an art collection as a person’s sole property, a couple may agree that each person is entitled to a certain percentage of its value at the time of the divorce. Furthermore, an agreement may allow a person to keep possession of an asset in exchange for other items held inside of the marital estate.
As a general rule, you are entitled to roughly half of the value of a marital estate after your marriage comes to an end. It may be in your best interest to create a prenuptial agreement or otherwise negotiate the terms of a divorce before the relationship comes to an end. This may make it easier to negotiate terms in a cordial manner with your partner.