EP 31: Intellectual Property . . . Not Just For Divorcing Celebrities

Welcome to the thirty-first episode of the Divorce and Your Money Podcast. Shawn Leamon, MBA and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, discusses the matter of intellectual property, which is not something limited to celebrities. If you or your spouse is an author, a musician, an inventor, a photographer, or any other creative person, you might have to deal with intellectual property.

Intellectual property is when you or your spouse has a copyright, patent, trademark, receives a royalty from something, or produces any kind of creative work they get or could receive payment for.

When determining whether or not intellectual property might exist, you need to consider such items as books, paintings, music, or anything that might be patented. There is also intangible intellectual property, for example, a website, a blog, or a YouTube channel. You need to be aware of all of them.

Estimating their worth is the second step and can be a bit difficult. Some of them could be of little value at the moment but have potential for future success. It is important to be aware of possible intellectual property in a divorce, and be sure to protect it if this is so.

The third question regarding intellectual property is what do you do with it in a divorce? How does this process work? The first thing you need to ensure is that your attorney knows about it and an approximate value. Your attorney should also be experienced in this subject. Once the value is determined, you could do a straight buyout or agree to some form of co-ownership. The first option is more common, while the second allows for some percentage to be created for the spouse who didn’t create it to benefit from it later down the line.

Intellectual property is a complicated subject, which is why you need to clearly understand all your options.

Key Learning Points:

  • Intellectual property is not something limited to celebrities; it is far more common than that.
  • Intellectual property involves a copyright, patent, trademark, something that generates a royalty, or any kind of creative work for which payment is received.
  • You need to be aware of three things: what intellectual property exists, its value, and what to do with it.
  • Intangible intellectual property includes such things as a website, a blog, or a YouTube channel.
  • Make sure your attorney is aware of your intellectual properly, its worth, and is experienced with such cases.
  • For intellectual property, there can be either a straight buyout or some form of co-ownership for the future.