Intellectual property is just like any property, and that means that it is going to be divided up equitably in a divorce. If you have a valuable IP or two, you can be sure that your spouse will want a piece of it. A Memphis, Tennessee property division lawyer can help you protect your assets and get a fair deal.
What is Considered Intellectual Property?
A few types of assets can be considered intellectual property. Some that frequently become big factors during the property division process include:
- New methodologies and techniques
- Trade secrets
If you can patent something, it can probably be considered your intellectual property.
Can a Pre-Nuptial Agreement Protect Intellectual Property?
If you are bringing valuable intellectual property into a marriage, it may be worthwhile to sign a pre-nuptial agreement that ensures that this IP stays in your hands no matter what happens during the marriage. We understand that the discussion of such agreements can be thorny, but signing one could be the best way to protect your IP and other assets.
Some people think that they will be fine because the creation of the intellectual property pre-dated the marriage. It should be considered separate property by the law, and then it should go right back to you at the end of the marriage, right?
That is not always how things work though. There are ways for separate assets to become commingled in marriage, so even something that you had sole ownership of could end up becoming marital property. Your spouse may be able to argue for a piece of your intellectual property later if no pre-nuptial agreement is in place.
How Can an IP Be Split Up in Divorce?
If your intellectual property does get split up during a divorce, there needs to be some way to value it. There are multiple ways to do this, including the market approach and the cost approach. Once a method of appraising the IP is decided upon, the property division process can continue.
If you do want to keep your IPs, you will probably have to give up other assets during the property division process. If your spouse wants to continue profiting from the IP that is seen as marital property, that can complicate matters.
How Can a Divorce Lawyer Help?
The property division process always has the potential to get messy, but the addition of valuable IPs can make things even more complex. Having an experienced lawyer by your side who can fight for you and a fair outcome is certainly going to be an asset here.
Contact Our Team
If you want to protect assets like intellectual property in a divorce, you should have an experienced lawyer on your side. Contact Rice Law today and set up a consultation. We can tell you more about how we can be of assistance.