Divorce: I think my husband is hiding a valuable asset

Posted by William H. Sherman on Nov 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

Question: My husband wants a divorce because he said he thinks he's gay and he met someone at work.  We live in Johns Creek.  Our relationship has been strained for the last 5 years or so.  We've only been married for 7 years and I always suspected he was a homosexual so I'm fine with the divorce.

Since things have been bad I have had a boyfriend for about 3 years.  And we agree on mostly everything.  We've figured out a way to split the equity in our house, bank accounts and retirement funds.  A good divorce lawyer should not have a difficult time with all that.

But there is one thing that is causing me a big problem.  When we first got married my father gave us a painting.  He said the painting had been in the family for years and that he kept it secret from my mother because she would want to sell it.  He died shortly after we were married.  I think it was an original Picasso painting that he gave to us as a wedding gift.

Here's the big problem: I haven't seen the painting in years.  My husband said he was going to get it another frame after we had it for only 3 weeks.  So I haven't seen it in years and I'm very suspicious.  Maybe he sold the painting and has the money hidden somewhere.  Or maybe he's waiting to get divorced so he can sell it and keep the money.  I admit that I'm becoming paranoid but I haven't had a job in 7 years and we have 4 kids all under the age of 6.

I need to know what to do because if that painting is really by Picasso and it's an original, it would be very valuable.  What should I do?

H.R. in Johns Creek.

Answer: An original painting by Pablo Picasso would indeed be valuable.  He is considered a giant of 20th century art, with some of his paintings commanding huge premiums at auction.

You need to explain to your divorce lawyer the same facts and circumstances that you have written to us.  Your husband needs to account for the painting and whether or not it has been sold.  That can be determined through the legal process called discovery, where both sides in a divorce have to disclose assets.

If it has been sold, you are entitled to at least half of the proceeds, which could be a substantial sum.  If he still has it, it needs to be properly appraised and sold in the most transparent manner possible, usually through a well-known auction house (like Sotheby's, Christie's, Phillips, or Bonhams, for example) or possibly through a private sale arranged by a trustworthy and knowledgeable art dealer.

Of course, it is also possible that the painting is not, in fact, by a major artist like Picasso.  Many people have objects of art they believe are quite valuable only to find out, after an appraisal, that they have little real monetary value.

We have handled many cases that involve valuing assets of many types.

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When you need a top-rated Johns Creek divorce lawyer, please call us at 678-215-4106.  Our hands-on, real-life experience includes serving as a Magistrate Judge, an Assistant Attorney General and as a Senior Assistant County Attorney.

When you need a divorce attorney in Johns Creek, our team will answer any questions you have and help you navigate through the entire process.  We handle cases throughout the Atlanta metro area and North Georgia.

About the Author

William H. Sherman

With a professional background that includes serving as a Senior Assistant County Attorney and as an Assistant Attorney General, attorney William H. Sherman has great experience, a broad range of legal knowledge and a proven record of success.  Each of Mr. Sherman's clients gets the full benefit of his experience.  Because attorney Sherman has worked for governmental organizations, large corporations and clerked for a judge, he has handled a wide variety of cases from negotiation and trial to successful appeal. Mr. Sherman is very proud of his reputation as a problem-solver who is always available to his clients.  Active in the community, Mr. Sherman and his wife, attorney Valerie Sherman, support many community organizations, sports teams and charities.  Call him now and let his experience work for you.

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