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Wealthy couple fight for artwork in their divorce

When getting a divorce, spouses may have a hard time agreeing on how to divide their marital property. In Alabama, if a couple is unable to come to a decision on how to split their assets, a judge will decide how to split them in an equitable manner; this does not always mean that everything will be shared 50-50. In New York, which is also an equitable distribution state, one wealthy couple has been battling over a large artwork collection since 2018, as well as expensive real estate in the Hamptons and Manhattan. The divorce is so contentious that the husband has refused to discuss child custody, saying there needs to be a decision on the finances first.

The individuals, David and Libbie Mugrabi, who are well-known art collectors, have been married since 2005, but David’s family has been trading at auctions for at least 20 years. During their marriage, Libbie is said to have assisted her husband with selling his artwork, which means Libbie is likely to claim that she is entitled to a portion of assets from her husband’s business. Libbie would also be entitled to a portion of any artwork that was part of the couple’s personal collection.

Libbie contends that her estranged husband removed $200 worth of artwork from their home to avoid having to split it with her. She also claims he is hiding marital assets in an offshore trust, which means the court may have to break it open to evaluate the trust’s assets.

When going through a high-asset divorce, it can be useful to retain an appraiser who can help determine the value of all marital property. An Alabama-licensed family law attorney might be able to assist individuals with negotiations regarding property division and attempt to streamline the separation process.