You might imagine marital property encompasses a few concrete assets: the house, your car and any accounts with money or insurance. However, marital assets include several other items like intangible assets that do not provide value as a single object.
Take a novel or even a computer program for instance. These are examples of intellectual property and their value is not inherently the price of a book and its bindings or a single instance of installed code—it is, instead, baked into the exclusive rights to choose how to sell those stories or apps to others.
Evaluating intangible assets
As the World Intellectual Property Organization details, the usual ways of valuing IP include the income, market and cost methods that compare current streams of revenue or similar IPs to determine an estimated value. Once estimated, these marital assets factor into your property division much like any other asset.
Sorting through royalties and earnings
Many courts and arbitration methods may avoid dividing IP rights and instead leave those rights in your hands or your spouse’s, depending on who created the IP. If that IP goes on to create more value, the spouse who did not create the IP may earn a certain percentage.
Navigating complex IP law
While dividing a bank account might come down to a 50% split between you and your spouse, your intellectual property is harder to quantify. It may also be a more sensitive subject if your project is special to you. In these cases, it is useful to investigate your resources and options when determining the best way to divide the value of your creations in a divorce.