If you’re getting a divorce, strategies for protecting your personal property are no doubt on your mind. And while you may be thinking about how to keep your house or protect your retirement account, it may also be important to consider how to protect your intangible assets, including your intellectual property. At The Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our experienced Massachusetts family law attorney can help. Call today to learn more about your legal rights and how to protect your assets when separating from your spouse. 

Massachusetts Property Distribution Laws

When couples divorce in Massachusetts, the law requires the equitable distribution of marital property. Marital property is property that is owned jointly by both spouses because it was acquired during the course of the marriage. While equitable could be equal, this is not necessarily the case—the division of property must be fair and just. For example, a couple could choose to sell a house and split the proceeds, or they could decide that one party gets the home in exchange for another asset, or they could decide on one of various other arrangements that are equitable. 

What About Intellectual Property?

When speaking about physical property, equitable division is pretty straightforward. What’s more complex, though, is how to divide intellectual property–ideas, works of art, creative works, inventions, etc. These types of intangible assets are much more difficult to divide and protect during a legal separation. 

One option for protecting intellectual property in a marriage is to form a prenuptial agreement before you even get married—or a post-nuptial if you’ve already tied the knot. If you haven’t taken this step and are already in the midst of a divorce, it will be important to make sure that you have legal proof that the intellectual property is yours. For example, if you’ve developed or created intellectual property and independently licensed, patented, etc. this creation, this will help to establish that your spouse wasn’t involved. As such, the intellectual property shouldn’t be considered marital property that’s subject to equitable division. 

How an Attorney Can Help You to Protect Intellectual Property During a Divorce

While there are steps that you can take early on to protect your intellectual property, such as forming a prenuptial agreement and ensuring you have the right licenses/patents in your name, working with an attorney is highly recommended. An attorney can advise you of your legal rights and develop a strategy that makes sense for your case, which is something that will be even more critical if you don’t have other forms of legal protection in place. Not only can an attorney argue that the intellectual property shouldn’t be subject to division, but they can also help you negotiate a settlement agreement with your spouse that is fair and just.

Call Attorney Heather M. Ward Today

If you are going through a divorce and worried about protecting your intellectual property, working with an attorney is a good idea. To learn more, contact Attorney Heather M. Ward directly today. You can reach our law office online or by phone at (617) 903-8955.