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Dividing art takes more than a little creativity

| Mar 27, 2018 | Property Division |

Some may think creatives can find imaginative solutions for every situation in life, but communication and other issues can haunt their marriages, too. When Ohio artists decide there is just no innovative resolution for their marital strife, who gets the art they have to split equally between them? 

Last year, the New York Post reported that high-profile couple Robert Soros and his soon-to-be ex-wife Melissa Schiff had not been able to make a decisive plan about their art collection. Even though their prenuptial agreement stated plainly how to resolve the matter, it had gone all the way to Manhattan’s Supreme Court in September. The trouble is Schiff feels a strong enough attachment to some of the pieces that she would like to keep them; Soros wants to sell.

In general, that is often the difficulty with art. An article in Town & Country magazine points out from a legal view, art is “no different from pots and pans.” Try telling that to divorcing parties, though. The courts have to come up with numbers to put a value on collections, but “art is not the same as a Maserati or a penthouse,” says an attorney quoted by Town & Country.

Besides putting a price on the collections artists accumulate, deciding how to divide their own works becomes a priority. The Art Law Journal reminds creatives they “own the copyright in the works [they] produce,” giving them exclusive rights to “reproduce, distribute or perform” them. For divorcing spouses, this means deferring to whichever of the two created the work before making any decisions about what to do with it. 

 

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