Intellectual Property and Your Virginia Divorce
All assets that are considered marital property are subject to a split in a Virginia divorce. This can also include intellectual property. Some people do not even realize that they have intellectual property that is subject to division. This means that you could be losing out on a share of the assets that you’re entitled to. This is why it’s important to retain an experienced Leesburg divorce attorney who can help you with all of your family law needs.
Intellectual Property Defined
Are you or your spouse an author? An artist or photographer? These professions typically involve copyrights for books, photographs, artwork, and the like. Do one of you hold a patent or trademark? These also fall under intellectual property. Any intellectual property created during the course of your marriage could be considered marital property. Some spouses try to keep the intellectual property separate, which is very difficult in many cases. When you meet with your attorney, he or she will tell you what assets are subject to division, including whatever your spouse is attempting to keep secret.
Intellectual property is technically an intangible asset because it’s not necessarily physical in nature. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. In order to measure its value, you have to assign a monetary value to it. The process may be different and more difficult, but it’s just like placing a value on a vacation property or a piece of land that will be subject to division in a divorce.
Intellectual Property and Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements that are deemed valid may dictate how intellectual property is separated during a divorce. If you agreed to forfeit all rights to existing and future intellectual property and the court determines the prenuptial agreement is valid, it could mean you are not entitled to a portion of the value.
Figuring Out the Value of Intellectual Property
Assigning a value to intellectual property can be a difficult process, which is why your attorney will bring in an expert, or experts, who have the necessary skills and experience to help determine a value for the intellectual property in question. The value could be a point of contention in the divorce, leaving the decision up to the court on what the value should be. Do not be surprised that experts on each side will have differing values and that they may vary widely.
The divorce may require using offsets to make things fair and equitable when dividing assets. This means that if you have agreed to divide the intellectual property equally, one spouse may keep ownership of the property while the other spouse receives an offset of its value for the final payoff. If intellectual property is valued at $100,000 and you agree to divide in half, it means one spouse will retain ownership of the intellectual property in question and the other will receive a $50,000 credit. The one who owes the other spouse will have to pay cash or a cash equivalent to satisfy the balance.
Contact a Virginia Family Law Attorney
If you are preparing for a Virginia divorce, contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help ensure you get a fair and equitable share of your marital assets.