Creative and inventive individuals who get divorced may be surprised to learn that the products of their creativity are considered part of the asset division process in Illinois. Just as physical property must be assessed and divided, intellectual property must be valued and split between spouses as well. Read on to learn more about how intellectual property is handled in an Illinois divorce, and then call an attorney with experience in high-asset and complex divorce who can help.
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property is a term that describes intangible (nonphysical) assets that are owned by a person or a company and cannot be used without the owner’s permission. Intellectual property rights are covered by laws that provide legal protection to products of human creativity, just as real property rights are protected. Examples of intellectual property include:
Patents, copyrights, and trademarks
Works of authorship, such as novels, music, and plays
Intellectual property can be very valuable and take up a significant portion of a couple’s marital estate. Just as any tangible property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property, intellectual property acquired during the marriage is generally marital property as well. Exceptions may be made in cases of intellectual property purchased with money that was gifted to or inherited by just one spouse.
Can I Keep My Intellectual Property?
In a divorce, rights to intellectual property are generally given to the spouse who created or obtained it. However, the other spouse is entitled to their fair share of the economic value of the intellectual property; this might include past and future royalties, sale proceeds, or a portion of the monetary value assigned to the property.
Intellectual property division can be complicated by the fact that the value of an intellectual work often pays forward long into the future. For example, a successful author will often make money from a book for many years after the book is initially published. An asset’s future value, known as its derivation, can be difficult to estimate and often requires the help of an expert in intellectual property valuation.
Otherwise, intellectual property is divided via the same process as other marital assets and can be negotiated and traded for other assets of similar value. Spouses are encouraged to negotiate a fair division with the help of their attorneys and a mediator, although a judge can get involved in helping a couple divide their assets if necessary.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer
If you want a team of experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys who are committed to helping you secure a favorable divorce settlement, call 630-871-1002 today. Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help you weigh the options for dividing intellectual property and help you negotiate with your spouse and their attorney regarding your property, debt, and any other issue that needs to be resolved.