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Can your spouse take your artwork in a divorce?

If you’re an artist living in Georgia, it might seem safe to assume that you would keep all your pieces if you and your spouse filed for divorce. However, the court might actually rule that your former spouse is entitled to part of your portfolio. They might also be entitled to fine art purchases that you’ve made during your marriage even if you spent your own money.

How is art divided during a divorce?

An artist with a large following might be able to sell their pieces for hundreds or thousands of dollars. After a certain point, the person is not considered a hobbyist; they’re a creator of fine art. This means that their work might be treated like financial assets instead of personal belongings during the divorce.

As a result, your former spouse might be entitled to half the pieces that you completed during your marriage. You and your family law attorney might be able to negotiate a different agreement where, for example, your spouse could own the artwork itself while you maintain ownership of the copyright.

Your former spouse might also be entitled to any fine art that you bought during your marriage. If you don’t want to part with any of your pieces, you could offer a different asset in exchange. Ultimately, virtually everything that you accumulate during your marriage is up for grabs unless you signed a prenuptial agreement before you got tied the knot.

How can you protect your work during a divorce?

If you’re an artist, signing a prenup is the best way to protect yourself in the event of a divorce. You could specify in the prenup that your spouse has no claim to any work completed during your marriage. This could prevent your spouse from seizing your pieces or gaining ownership to the copyright.

If you didn’t sign a prenup, the next best thing is calling a divorce attorney. An attorney may help you figure out how to protect your work and offer different assets of a similar value to your spouse during the property division process.