Can I Protect My Intellectual Property During a Divorce?
Your property has to be split up in the divorce, but that does not mean that you just have to sit by and let your spouse take everything. You can fight for a fairer distribution of all of your marital property, and that includes any intellectual property. Whether you brought IPs into the marriage with you or they were developed while you and your spouse were together, there are ways to protect them and keep what you have built. Our Chatham property distribution attorneys can help you.
Which Assets Are Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property can include a wide variety of valuable assets, including:
- Trade secrets
- New methodologies
- Just about anything that can be patented
If your idea is profitable and needs to be protected, it is probably considered intellectual property. Can such a thing be valued and split down the middle though? There are actually a few ways to value an IP and figure out what each spouse should get.
How Can Intellectual Property Be Split?
An intellectual property can be valued in a few different ways. You can use the “income approach” and figure out how much in future earnings this IP could bring in. The “market approach” asks for offers for the IP to see how much people would be willing to pay for it. Then there’s the “cost approach,” which focuses on how much it may have cost to develop the IP.
These methods of valuing an IP all have their own benefits and drawbacks. Once a value for the IP is decided on, it can be distributed with the rest of the property in your marriage. If you receive the intellectual property in the divorce, your spouse would get assets equalling the IP in value.
If I Developed This IP Before Marriage, is it Mine?
If your IP was something you owned before marriage, you may not need to split it up in your marriage. Make sure that you have all of the paperwork relating to this intellectual property before you try to make this argument though. The more evidence you have, the better.
Your spouse might still try to claim a part of your intellectual property if it was a separate property. If that IP rose in value during your marriage, it can be argued that this monetary gain was a marital asset. If your business and its value and the value of your IP increased while your spouse stayed at home, taking care of the kids, they might also argue that they deserve a share of your IP’s value. Your lawyer can help you deal with such arguments and protect your property.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you want to protect your intellectual property, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. Contact Lazor Rantas, PC and schedule a consultation with our team. We can tell you more about how we can be of assistance in this difficult time.