During divorce, the value of your marital estate may feel daunting to work through. From the value of the house to dividing up accounts and insurance policies, it is important to focus on clear communication and documentation to divide property equitably.
This is especially true for intangible assets like intellectual property where value is harder to pin down.
IP includes created works like novels, art or computer programs. If you and your spouse had a business together, you may have logos and trade secrets to consider among the marital estate. The primary source of IP value comes from exclusivity and future benefits. For example, control over your book rights benefits you now because others pay you for the right to use it. Even when you divide IP in a divorce, its value may increase in the future.
You cannot cut a house or car in half when dividing property. The usual case is that one spouse gets the house while the other spouse gets an equivalent amount of value in exchange. With IP, you and your spouse have many options to divide IP including:
- An even split of the property rights
- An equivalent exchange similar to tangible property
- An agreement that gives control to one spouse and a cut of royalties to the other
Since IP is intangible, you and your spouse can divide it in whatever way seems most fair to each other. When discussing this complex topic, it is important to document the agreement with clear, legal language that can clear the divorce process.