Valuating assets in a St. Louis divorce isn’t just about the money

When a couple chooses to end their marriage in St. Louis, they are not simply declaring the end of a relationship. They are also dividing up their property, whether it is a home, a car, a business or even a collection. While it is very true that equal division of the property often comes down to how much the asset is worth, there is so much more to division than the market value — especially in the eyes of each spouse.

Have you ever owned a pet? A judge may see Fido as a piece of property, but many pet owners consider him an invaluable part of the family. Do you own a family business? A business is worth a certain amount of money if sold, but the goal of many family businesses is to keep them in the family. For others, it is also about running the business, keeping it alive, keeping a certain level of control into the future.

Another asset that may hold more value than a simple number is a collection. For one couple, it was their multi-million-dollar art collection comprised of 47 pieces, 43 of them paintings. The couple was not opposed to splitting the collection 50/50, but when they tried they failed…twice. What was the problem?

The two individuals saw the collection in completely different ways, desiring completely different results that while “fair,” could not satisfy the other spouse. The wife looked at the collection in an emotional way. Many of the pieces invoked serious emotions — good and bad — or stirred heartfelt memories within her.

For the husband, it was all about finding a realistic solution to a realistic problem. First, he had to satisfy a collateral requirement with JPMorgan Chase in order to secure a line of credit. Pieces worth $750,000 or more would qualify. Next, post-divorce he would still have a lot of wall space to fill, and he would need enough paintings to do so. Lastly, the half-collection he did end up with needed to be diverse, because that is what a complete collection was in his mind.

Source: The Seattle Times, “The art of divorce: She gets the Monet, he gets the Renoir,” July 28, 2012

If you are considering a divorce that requires attention to detail, our The art of divorce: She gets the Monet, he gets the Renoir page provides more information.

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