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Divorcing artists and the treatment of their artwork

Georgia artists whose marriages are ending may want to know if their occupation will have any affect on the resulting property division phase of their divorce. Many may be surprised to learn that any artwork created by them during their marriage may be considered to be marital property that is owned by both spouses. The artwork may still be counted as an asset even if it has not been sold or has been sitting dormant in a storage facility for an indeterminate amount of time.

In addition, copyrights and license agreements obtained during the marriage may also be treated as marital property as well. However, any artwork created before the marriage or after a separation may be excluded when calculating the division of assets. Licensing agreements entered into before marriage or art commissions earned while the artist was still single may also be excluded as separately owned property and thus not subject to division. Spouses who conceal or fail to disclose the location of the artwork or the licensing documentation may be subjected to harsh treatment when it becomes known, as all or a portion of that property could be awarded to the other spouse by the court.

In order to accurately assess the value of the assets under consideration, one or both parties may be required to enlist the services of a gallery owner or professional appraiser. These assets may not be destroyed, sold or loaned until the property division determination has concluded.

Regardless of their occupation, people contemplating a divorce who need more information about property division may want to obtain the advice of an attorney. Legal counsel can review the facts of a client's particular case and assist in negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement to cover these and other applicable matters.

Source: Huffington Post, "For Artists, Divorce Means Splitting Up the (Art) Assets", Daniel Grant, March 3, 2015

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