Georgia residents who are artists may be surprised to learn that any pieces they have, whether in storage, hanging on a wall or on consignment in a gallery, are considered marital property and are eligible for property division during a divorce. Additionally, any tools they used to create their art may also fall into this category, similar to the way that copyrights are also considered to be joint property held by both individuals.
Artists who are going through a divorce should make take a complete inventory of their works, including those that were sold before and after the marriage. When a painting was created and when it was sold may determine whether it is or is not considered marital property.
It is also essential that an inventory is accurate. Failing to disclose artworks could be perceived as an attempt to hide them and may in some cases result in all or a portion being awarded to the other spouse. Additionally, it is important to understand that artworks are not to be sold, given away or destroyed without the consent of the creator’s spouse until the divorce proceedings have been completed.
No matter what someone’s profession, when they are involved in a divorce, they are likely to find that or most of the assets they obtained over the course of their marriage are eligible for marital property division. There are certain exceptions to this, and property obtained before a marriage is usually exempt, but the issue can be a complex one. A lawyer can explain how the process works and assist in negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement that would cover what is often a contentious aspect of a divorce.
Source: Huffington Post, “For Artists, Divorce Means Splitting Up the (Art) Assets”, Daniel Grant, march 3, 2015