When dividing property during a divorce, judges in Illinois must be equitable. This approach means you may not receive exactly half of everything you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse acquired during your marriage. You should end up with a fair share, though.
You can only fight for a fair share of marital property if you know the property exists. While tangible assets, such as furniture or a car, are difficult to disguise, intellectual property is often easier to hide.
Understanding intellectual property
If your spouse is an executive, inventor, entrepreneur or artist, he or she may regularly create intellectual property. In simple terms, intellectual property is an idea or work in which your spouse has a legally enforceable ownership interest.
Books, songs, artworks and product designs are common examples of intellectual property.
Finding intellectual property
Divorcing spouses have an obligation to disclose assets and debts. If your husband or wife fails to notify you about the intellectual property he or she owns, you probably have some options for finding it.
For example, you may choose to look for trademark, copyright or patent documentation in the appropriate government registry. A forensic accountant or private investigator may also be able to locate hidden intellectual property.
Winning intellectual property
In the lead-up to your divorce, you and your spouse may try to negotiate a settlement agreement. If you are successful, a judge is likely to respect the deal you make. If not, the judge must decide what happens to intellectual property and other assets.
You do not want to discover you missed out on something valuable after your divorce is final. By working diligently to find hidden intellectual property, you can fight aggressively for every tangible and intangible asset you deserve.