Many people move to the Chicago area to fulfill their dreams as creators. Actors, authors, musicians, artists, inventors, designers, and entrepreneurs flock to the Windy City and the surrounding regions, hoping to make a living from their unique creations.
Unsurprisingly, disputes regarding intellectual property are not uncommon in Illinois divorce cases – especially cases involving high-net-worth individuals.
If you are planning to divorce and you or your spouse have copyrights, patents, trademarks, contractual rights, royalties, or other intellectual property rights, make sure you understand how intellectual property is valued and distributed during divorce.
Intellectual Property May Be Considered Marital Property
Most people assume that a creator’s work is his or her property alone. However, Illinois law is clear regarding the classification of property: Any assets acquired during the marriage are marital property save for assets acquired through gift or inheritance. Assets acquired before the marriage or after legal separation are non-marital property. These rules apply to tangible assets such as real estate and bank accounts as well as intangible assets such as intellectual property rights.
The main exception to these rules is if the spouses have signed a premarital agreement designating intellectual property as non-marital property.
How is Intellectual Property Addressed During Asset Division?
Both spouses may have a right to income generated from intellectual property, such as royalties. For many couples, negotiating an out-of-court settlement is the best way to handle property division. In the case of high-net-worth individuals with intellectual property, professional guidance from attorneys and financial experts will almost certainly be needed to determine the present and future value of the intellectual property and assist with negotiations.
If spouses cannot reach a settlement about property division matters, the court will divide marital property based on the legal doctrine of equitable distribution. When assets are divided according to equitable distribution laws, they are not necessarily split precisely in half. The contributions each party made to the acquisition of marital property, non-financial contributions made as a homemaker or stay-at-home parent, and multiple other factors will come into play.
Contact our DuPage County High-Net-Worth Divorce Lawyer
Intellectual property rights are just one of the unique issues many high-net-worth individuals encounter during a divorce. If you are getting divorced and you own significant high-value or complex assets, working with a lawyer who understands these unique issues is essential. Call the Wheaton high-net-worth divorce attorneys at Goostree Law Group to get the personalized guidance you need.
Set up a free initial case assessment by calling 630-364-4046 today.