The role of art in a high asset divorce

Many wealthy couples purchase art, expensive furnishings or other one-of-a-kind items during their marriage. In fact, art is often viewed as a way to not only establish one's position in the highest levels of society, but also as a means of sheltering money from taxes. When a Florida couple is headed for a high asset divorce, art can also serve as a vehicle for concealing wealth.

In many cases, only one spouse is actively involved in amassing the couple's art collection. Families with homes outside of the United States could have various works of art spread in locations around the globe. That can make it difficult to create a thorough accounting of all family assets. In fact, unscrupulous spouses looking to shield assets from property division may have intentionally invested significant wealth into art for that very purpose.

Without a thorough accounting of all marital assets, reaching a fair property division settlement is virtually impossible. Spouses who suspect that their partner may have invested a significant amount of money into an art collection may need to hire professionals to determine the full scope of marital wealth. That might may include a forensic accountant, as well as an art valuation expert.

High asset divorce can become very complicated, very quickly. That's why it's critical to build a divorce team that includes the right mix of professionals. For Florida couples who own a significant collection of art or other unique pieces, determining the value of those pieces is a critical part of the property division process.

Source:, "How Modern Art Serves the Rich", Rachel Wetzler, Feb. 26, 2018

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