GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan. During a divorce, you and your ex will have to make decisions about how to equitably divide your assets. When we think about assets during a divorce, we often think about bank accounts, retirement accounts, the home, debts, and other property or assets you may have acquired during the marriage. However, according to the Business Journals, couples should also consider intellectual property before finalizing their divorce. Whether you and your ex started your own business together, or whether you ran your own business and know that your partner is privy to trade secrets, it is important to consider how you’ll protect your intellectual property during the divorce.

Intellectual property refers to patents, software, trademarks, trade secrets, and even ideas or writing you or your spouse may either own separately or together. If you and your ex worked on a business idea or creative work together, you may both share a stake in the work. In this case, it is important to define who owns what and who will profit from what, should the idea become profitable.

There are many different ways that couples can clarify intellectual property rights. For example, when it comes to inventions, the inventor may not always hold the patent. It is therefore important to be clear about who holds patents and who will benefit financially from an idea. If you and your ex shared a business, you may have to consider how the business will be run after your split. Will one partner sell his or her shares? Will both parties continue to run the business? If so, is there a clear business plan or partnership plan in place?

It can sometimes be difficult to put a real value on certain intellectual property. In some cases, it takes time before the value is apparent. However, it is important to consider the value of all your assets when getting divorced, including intellectual rights.

Individuals don’t even have to be married to face legal challenges regarding intellectual property. The New York Times recently reported on how a writer’s ex-boyfriend went after her for damages after claiming that portions of her successful book were plagiarized. After the writer received a seven-figure advance for her book, her ex-boyfriend levied legal challenges against her, threatening to expose her sexual past to the public in order to urge her to settle privately.

Divorce can bring up many tough questions. While the decision to separate is a private one, divorce is a public complaint that can result in private facts about both parties being exposed during the case. More individuals seek private divorce settlements to avoid the public exposure and to avoid leaving their divorce settlement up to a judge to decide. If you are facing challenging questions about intellectual property during your divorce, consider speaking to a qualified divorce lawyer like Gordon & Hess, P.L.C. in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our firm can review your assets, debts, and other properties to determine the best possible settlement for your family. Every divorce case is unique. Speak to a lawyer who will take the time to understand your circumstances. Visit us at today.