Ask a Divorce Lawyer: The Value of Art
An artist asks lawyer Dana Stutman whether her spouse, in a divorce, would have the right to half the work she produced during their marriage.
Today marks our first voyage in the “Ask a Divorce Lawyer” column. (Notice I did not call it our “maiden” voyage, for hopefully obvious reasons. If we can ban offensive language from real estate nomenclature—see: “primary bedroom” in lieu of “master bedroom”—we can ban it from discussions of ships and adventures as well.)
Every week—or as often as she can, given various life and health parameters—matrimonial lawyer Dana Stutman will be answering your questions about divorce law. Have a question? Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ve had quite a few inquiries already, so please be patient. We will do our best to get to all of them.
Today’s question comes from an artist. She is separated but not divorced because she needs to keep her health insurance. As an aside, I want to point out the utter insanity in our country of separated spouses choosing not to get divorced because it would mean one spouse losing health benefits. Suffice it to say, our neighbors in Canada (and France and England…) are not staying married, when they want to get divorced, so that one person in the couple can keep their health benefits. Their governments simply acknowledge that they are human, they live in dying bodies, and sometimes those bodies get sick and need treatment.
Or put it this way: during my own divorce, had my apartment caught fire, I would not have hesitated to call 911 to summon firefighters and water. In fact, I did have to call the fire department, several times, for a gas leak my landlord wouldn’t fix. But when I was hemorrhaging and nearly dead from vaginal cuff dehiscence, I would not let my daughter call 911 out of fear of a surprise multi-thousand dollar ambulance bill. Instead I took UberPool to the emergency room. Hopefully one day our country will value human bodies the same way we value real estate. No matter what we call the room where the parents have sex and sleep or once did, before they decided to get separated but not divorced so one of them could keep their health insurance.
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What a great and generous opportunity! I have a question I've been trying to get clarity on. I am an artist, and heard that the ex spouse is due half of all work produced during the marriage.
Can this be so? It seems intellectual property is vastly different from say, the china. I can't bear the thought of giving him half of my creative output.
If this is true are there any ways to circumvent this? My children are late teen/early twenties and would love to own my work. Can I gift it all to them?
My spouse and I are currently separated, not divorced yet because I rely on his health insurance and have what would be very expensive medication needs were I to lose insurance. I also would consider not asking for a divorce in order to keep my paintings. We are on pretty good terms, if this matters.
Painter in pain about losing her paintings
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