Your intellectual property is just like anything else you and your spouse own. If you go through a divorce, it is going to need to be split up among the two of you in an equitable way. If you want to protect your intellectual property, our experienced Mountainside property distribution attorneys are ready to help you.
Which Assets Can Be Considered Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property can include actual items that you can hold, like inventions, but it is more likely that the intellectual properties that you will be fighting over in a divorce are more ethereal in nature. A trademark or copyright can be an IP, as could one of your company’s trade secrets.
These properties are especially important to anyone who runs a business or relies on their IP to make a living. If your spouse does not have a legitimate claim to an IP but wants to take a piece of it or its value anyway, then you must fight back.
What if the Development of the Intellectual Property Pre-Dates the Marriage?
When you enter into a marriage with property of your own, that is often considered “separate property.” Then anything that you and your spouse acquire when together, like your individual incomes, any real estate, or other assets, can be considered “marital property.” This concept can apply to intellectual property as well.
If you came into a marriage with intellectual property, then it should be considered separate property. If you came into possession of an IP during your marriage, it is going to be split up when marital property is divided. Your spouse might also try to go after property that you had before marriage though, which is why it can be wise to consider drafting a pre-nuptial agreement that keeps your IP out of the property division process.
How Can an IP Be Valued?
When intellectual property has to be a part of the property division process, it has to be valued. There are a few different ways to do this. You can take:
A cost approach: This calculates the cost of developing or acquiring an IP.
A market approach: This determines the value of an IP based on how much people are willing to pay for it in a fair market deal.
An income approach: This analyzes the intellectual property to forecast how much money someone could possibly make off of it in the future.
When an IP is properly valued, it can be part of the property division process.
Talk to Our Legal Team
If you want to learn more about your options and how our experienced divorce lawyers can help you protect your assets, contact Ross & Calandrillo, LLC. We can schedule a consultation and tell you more about what we can do for you and how your intellectual property can make it through the divorce process unscathed.