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Address creative works in a prenuptial agreement

Creating an effective prenuptial agreement is not a simple matter, and requires both parties to work together to create a truly comprehensive strategy for protecting each other and the relationship. Ultimately, should your marriage end in divorce, there is no substitute for a well-crafted prenuptial agreement. However, if you fail to plan properly, you may still face difficulty in property division. One of the most common areas that couples fail to address in a prenuptial agreement when they are building it is the matter of intellectual property.

The issue may seem far off and irrelevant, but it is a very real problem. In general, anything that you acquire while married possibly is considered marital property. This can absolutely extend to your creations, especially if they are valuable.

Let's say that you and your spouse enjoy 12 years of marriage, in which time you write a novel. The novel is based on an idea you had back in college, but it wasn't until well into your 30's that you actually sat down to write the thing. Now, after all these years, the novel has gained significant popularity, but your marriage has taken a turn for the worse.

Your spouse may claim that he or she deserves a portion of the value of novel, which is a potentially legally viable position if you did not take steps to protect your intellectual property in a prenuptial agreement. The agreement should address not only the ownership of the work, but also your sole ownership of the value of the work or proceeds generated by it. With proper guidance from an experienced attorney, you can create a prenuptial agreement that keeps your ideas protected, even if they are only intangible ideas when you marry.

Source: Findlaw, "Do You Need an IP Prenup to Protect Ideas?," Christopher Coble, accessed June 30, 2017

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