Dividing Valuable and Unique Collections in a Divorce

Posted on in Illinois Family Law

IL divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce in Illinois will require all marital property to be accurately classified and divided according to the theory of equitable distribution. Yet certain types of property can pose complications, and it can be necessary to take additional steps to determine how particular assets should be classified and valued. Indeed, dividing valuable and unique collections in a divorce can result in complexities that may require assistance from expert appraisers in addition to in-depth investigations to determine whether the property should be classified as a separate or marital asset. Valuable and unique collections can range from art and rare book collections to antique jewelry and furniture in the couple’s home.

Our DuPage County property division attorneys want to provide you with some of the information you will need as you consider the divorce process and the division of distinctive collections or collectible assets that may be classified as marital property under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).

How Will the Assets Be Classified?

In order for any assets to be divided in a divorce by a DuPage County court, those assets must be classified as marital (as opposed to separate, or non-marital) property. When it comes to items in a valuable collection, one or both spouses might be hesitant to divide the collection, particularly when it has more value as a whole. Accordingly, one of the spouses might attempt to argue that the objects should be classified as separate property and should not be divided in the divorce. To be classified as separate property, one of the following usually must be true of the assets:

  • Acquired prior to the date of the marriage
  • Acquired during the marriage as a gift from a third party
  • Acquired during the marriage as part of an inheritance

To ensure that all assets that are currently part of a collection are classified accurately by the court, you should gather all documentation you have, including, for example:

  • Purchase receipts
  • Insurance appraisals
  • Copy of a will through which you inherited the collection

It is critical to understand that a valuable collection will not be seen as a single entity. For example, if you own a collection of Mughal art, the court will look at the pieces individually. As such, if some of the pieces in the collection were acquired prior to the marriage and other pieces acquired after, the collection will include both separate and marital assets.

How Will the Objects in the Collection Be Valued?

Often, with rare and valuable collections, it is essential to work with an expert appraiser if any of the objects in your collection are likely to be classified as marital property.

With collections such as art, rare books, or antique jewelry, the market can shift significantly even within a few years, meaning that a previous appraisal of market value might not be accurate any longer. Further, the court likely will not have the capacity to understand the nuances of an art or rare book collection that can affect market value, meaning that you should have an appraiser who regularly determines market and insurance valuations for collections like yours.

Contact an Oakbrook Terrace Property Division Attorney

Do you have questions about the division of art or rare book collection in your divorce? An experienced Oakbrook Terrace property division lawyer at our firm can help. We have years of experience representing members of the DuPage County Muslim community in many kinds of family law cases and can discuss property division with you today. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office online or call us at 630-909-9114 for more information.




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