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How do we divide difficult property, like art, in divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Divorce |

Navigating the division of intricate assets, like stock options and art, can pose significant challenges in Virginia divorces under the equitable distribution model. While this does not necessarily mean an equal split of your marital assets, you and your spouse will still need to know the value of the marital estate to divide it. That is why assets with variable or non-static values can prove challenging during the property division process.

Equitable distribution

Equitable distribution in Virginia means that family law judges seek a just division of assets based on the overall financial situation of the divorcing couple. This is different than other states where judges focus on a strict 50/50 split. However, regardless of how assets are split, they must be valued.

Complex assets

Unique assets, like art, present their own complexities. Their valuation often requires expert appraisals, and the courts consider each spouse’s contribution to their acquisition, maintenance and the asset’s appreciation. Stock options, often seen as deferred compensation, are also subject to evaluation, if they were acquired during the marriage (or vest at some point therein) and their purpose.

Valuing complex assets

Various factors influence asset division, including the marriage’s duration, each spouse’s contributions to the marital estate and their respective economic circumstances. Given these intricacies, seeking assistance from financial experts specializing in asset division or appraisers specializing in the asset class is advisable.


In conclusion, dividing complex assets in Virginia divorces demands careful consideration of equitable distribution laws. It also can demand specialized knowledge. Professional guidance can help individuals navigate these complexities effectively.


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