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Divorce for artists and creators

Many professional artists and other creative people make their home in Texas, and they are as likely to get married and raise a family as anyone else. Unfortunately, some of these unions will terminate in divorce. This can sometimes lead to unusual problems with property division. As the state of Texas follows the laws of community property, all artworks created during a marriage are the joint property of both spouses. They are to be assessed and divided like all other property.

One of the most difficult tasks for any divorcing artist can be to create an inventory of all artworks and attempt to make a reasonable estimation of their value. Pieces created before the marriage and after the couple has separated may be excluded from the property division determination. However, the value of unfinished pieces and works in progress will need to be considered, and it is not unusual for the divorce agreement to include provisions that a percentage of the future worth of the work will be paid to the non-artist spouse.

In some cases, artists who are working out a divorce settlement agreement will propose a trade of other property in exchange for their retention of their own creations. It can be an important point, regardless of whether the artist is already well established and financially secure or is only starting out and struggling.

Texas has been an increasingly friendly environment for creators of artworks and other intellectual property, and ascertaining the financial value of their assets is often a complicated issue during divorce proceedings. An attorney who has experience in complex family law cases such as these may be able to help a client determine the appropriate values for works of art and other intangibles through the use of professional appraisers.

Source: Huffington Post, "For Artists, Divorce Means Splitting Up the (Art) Assets," Daniel Grant, March 3 2015

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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