If you were to find yourself working through a divorce in St. Charles County, Missouri, you might find yourself with a considerable number of surprises. From moving targets of case law regarding child custody to the invasiveness of discovery, there are plenty of things that could frustrate you during the process. Not the least of these involve a specific issue of property division: the allocation of artworks.
It would be highly unlikely that any court would hand down a decision mirroring the Judgment of Solomon: there are only a few situations in which a judge would mandate selling a piece and splitting the proceeds. The idea of property division is developed well enough in Missouri law to handle the issue of art being indivisible.
Since the liquidation of art is problematic at best, you would more often find yourself negotiating who retains which collection or work based on the value of the article in question. In fact, this issue of valuation is the main frustration you would be likely to encounter in the case you had to decide who gets which item.
Town and Country Magazine recently looked at some prominent divorce cases involving disputed division of valuable artwork. These individuals built their social careers at least partly around their art collections in some cases. At one point, the article mentions that one of the couple’s legal teams differed significantly with each other in their valuations of the artwork involved in the divorce.
Even if you are not expecting hundreds of millions of dollars of variation in the estimated worth of your collection, your own legal team would still bear the onus for proving that the value you assign to each piece is a reasonable representation of the price you bring for that work were you to sell it. Please regard this only as information. Nothing in this article is intended as legal advice.