One of the most hotly-contested issues in a high-asset divorce is the division of marital assets. One of the most challenging assets to evaluate and consider in the division of marital property is any intellectual property acquired, owned, or accumulated during the marriage.
If you are an executive, business owner, or entrepreneur, you likely own some intellectual property in the form of:
- Product branding
- Royalty rights
- Other IP
In the divorce proceedings, this property could and should be considered valuable assets. To protect your rights and help you retain what you’re entitled to, it’s essential to hire an attorney who is highly experienced in both divorce and business law.
Halligan LLC has extensive experience handling high-asset divorce cases, and we have the skills to resolve business matters of any complexity, including business interests and asset ownership, professional practices, and intellectual property disputes.
At Halligan LLC, we believe that protecting your property in a divorce is the best way to protect your future. If there is any intellectual property at stake in your divorce case, we’ll evaluate your situation and advise you of your legal options during a confidential consultation.
Identifying Intellectual Property
During divorce proceedings, divorce counsel will typically look for potentially relevant intellectual property. Some of the characteristics of IP that an attorney will look for include:
- Identified or readily identifiable intellectual property – Some IP might already be identified as part of a business’ model or plan. Other IP might be revealed through investigation or discovery, including patents, trademarks, licensing opportunities, and more.
- Copyrighted material that is practically licensable, including data, databases of information, websites, publications, photos, drawings, etc.
- IP related to an industry – Certain industries are more IP-intensive than others, including those in the tech sector, medical fields (particularly pharmaceuticals and medical devices), arts and entertainment, and consumer goods.
- Other unique assets – Some factors that make a successful business stand out from its competitors could potentially be due to unique intellectual property
Before IP can be valued, it must be identified. In some instances, this IP might be undervalued, or in some cases, it might not be valued at all. In these instances, the IP must be valued before it can be considered in the divorce proceedings.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are going through a divorce in Colorado that includes highly-valuable assets like intellectual property, you likely have questions about what will be considered, how it will be valued, and what you’re entitled to. Contact an experienced high asset divorce lawyer at Halligan, LLC to discuss the specifics of your situation. We’ve also provided the following frequently asked questions below to help you understand some general information about IP in a divorce proceeding.
What intellectual property could be considered in divorce proceedings?
According to the law, intellectual property includes inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, and symbols, names, and images used in commerce. Again, that also takes in copyrights, trademarks, patents, software, and trade secrets. In some circumstances, intellectual property could add millions of dollars to the marital estate once it has been identified and valued.
The wide range of intellectual property makes it problematic to value within the context of divorce. Intellectual property is a sophisticated financial asset that could be the source of different income sources. This is why it is crucial to seek the legal advice of a divorce attorney who possesses tangible experience in high-stakes matters such as appraising key components of your business.
How is intellectual property valued in a divorce?
According to a U.S. government report, intellectual property is the lifeblood of our economy. The report indicates that there are three main areas of intellectual property: trademarks, patents, and copyrights. While these types of intellectual property vary in how they function within the business framework, they all have one thing in common: they generally grant the owner and creator exclusive rights to earn profit from them.
Within a divorce, intellectual property is not only evaluated for its current value but its potential value as well. Even if you are the sole owner of intellectual property, your spouse may also be entitled to present and future profits even after the divorce goes through, depending on the final property settlement in the divorce decree.
IP valuation should be carefully considered in divorce proceedings, especially in a marital dispute. It is important that IP that is included in the valuation of a business not be counted again as an additional marital asset. It’s also crucial for divorce counsel to show reasonable and practical monetization of the IP.
Intellectual property is often hotly contested in divorce proceedings, so it is essential to be patient with the process and understand that it will likely take time and money to evaluate and reach a resolution.
What should I ask my lawyer if I have IP that will be considered in my divorce proceeding?
Make sure to ask your attorney about their experience handling high-asset divorce cases, and specifically those that include intellectual property.
To ensure that your intellectual property is accurately assessed and carefully preserved within a divorce, seek the legal counsel of an experienced high-asset divorce attorney, who can work with an accountant, and other competent professionals with the appropriate expertise such as appraisers, valuation specialists, and financial planners.
A high-asset divorce is much more challenging to work through than a typical divorce because of the wealth involved that is often held in different investment instruments and entities. Failing to seek the advice of a family law attorney could mean long-term economic consequences that could have a devastating impact on your overall financial wellbeing.
Contact Halligan LLC, Experienced High-Asset Divorce Attorneys
At Halligan LLC, our experienced Colorado divorce lawyers have the skills and resources needed to represent you in your high-asset divorce case. When intellectual property exists, we’ll be ready to help you retain what is rightfully yours or receive payment for the value of what your spouse is allowed to keep, depending on the specifics of your situation.
To discuss your rights and legal options moving forward, contact our offices at (720) 608-2361 to schedule a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable member of our team today.