Intellectual property refers to works that an individual holds the rights to, such as copyrights, artwork, designs, trade secrets, and trademarks. There is a lot of focus on residential property and liquid assets when it comes to divorce law, but there is not as much information about this type of property.
Divorce is stressful enough without having to worry about what might happen to your hard-earned work. If you get a divorce in Ohio, what happens to your intellectual property?
Because Ohio is an equitable distribution state, as opposed to a community property state, some portion of a patent, copyright, or other intangible property may go to the spouse, but it does not have to be an even split. The major factor in this decision is whether or not you created the work during the marriage. If you did, then your spouse may receive a portion of any royalties that you earn from the work. However, the owner of the intellectual property will generally still remain the owner, even in the case of a divorce.
Protecting your intellectual property
The best way to protect any property during a legal separation is to sign a prenuptial agreement before walking down the aisle in the first place. Having only your name on the property and the accounts where any money earned from the intellectual property gets deposited also helps the court to see this asset as your own.
Knowing what might happen to your intellectual property during a divorce can give you some peace of mind during this stressful time.