A high-asset divorce is fraught with numerous complexities. One of the biggest amongst them is property division. This is because those who have extensive wealth often have assets that are challenging to locate or challenging to value. You need to be extraordinarily careful when dealing with these matters because failing to properly handle them could leave you at a financial disadvantage when everything is said and done.

As an example, this week we will look at artwork. In far too many instances, couples decide to divvy up artwork based on personal preference and their gut feeling about what is fair. This is usually a mistake. Artwork can be extraordinarily valuable, so if you’re looking to protect your financial interests, then merely taking your favorite piece of artwork might not be the best option.

But you still run into the problem of valuating artwork. Placing value on a piece of artwork is an inherently subjective process, but professional appraisers can help determine the fair market value of the work, which is what a court will look at when determining how handle property division. Of course, one’s spouse might secure his or her own expert appraiser who places a different value on the artwork, which may leave the subject open to litigation. Be warned, though, that if an agreement can’t be reached then the court may order the art to be sold and have the parties divide the proceeds in an equitable fashion.

There are a lot of considerations when it comes to artwork in a divorce. The timing of the appraisal, the state of the market, and whether the art in question appreciated over the course of the marriage can all come into play. These are complicated financial matters that are difficult for those unaccustomed to the process to untangle. There are legal teams that are skilled in forensic divorce, though, and they stand ready to assist in better ensuring that these matters are resolved in a fair and favorable fashion.