Prominent couple in divorce battle over art collection

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Monday, February 24, 2020.

High-asset couples in Missouri who are going through a divorce may have to resolve complex issues regarding property division. This is the case for a prominent art collecting couple in New York. After a court appearance on Feb. 13, the judge told them they were too far apart on the issues they needed to resolve and scheduled a new hearing for April 2.

According to some sources, the woman wants custody of the couple’s two children, but the man will not discuss custody until the two have reached an agreement regarding property division. However, the woman alleges that he is attempting to conceal assets. She says he moved a number of valuable pieces of art from their home, and sources say they were placed in an offshore trust. That trust may be broken by the court in order to distribute the assets if these allegations are true.

The artwork in question involves pieces acquired between the couple’s marriage in 2005 and their divorce filing in 2018. In general, this would all be considered marital property. It will be necessary to appoint an appraiser to determine the value of this artwork. The court will also need to determine whether the artwork was purchased for business purposes. If so, the amount that is due to the woman will depend on her contribution to the business.

When one or both individuals who are getting married have valuable assets, they might want to create a prenuptial agreement that addresses how that property will be divided in case of divorce. It is also possible to get a postnuptial agreement if people begin to acquire sizable assets after getting married. In the absence of any kind of agreement, state law in Missouri says that assets must be distributed equitably, but couples may be able to negotiate an agreement that they feel is fair.

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