Who Gets Control Of Intellectual Property In A Divorce?

Michigan divorce lawyerQuestion:

Can my wife receiver rights to my intellectual property through property division?

I hold copyrights on several books I’ve written prior to my marriage and have copyrights on some materials written during my marriage.

Is intellectual property considered marital property? If so, can I transfer copyright ownership to a trust to prevent this?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Michigan property law where I am licensed to practice.

Generally, property law deems property owned prior to marriage as separate property, unless you commingle this property with your marital property. Therefore, the copyrights that you acquired prior to your marriage would be treated as your separate property, at least under Michigan law.

However, the copyrights that you acquired during your marriage would be treated as marital property for purposes of property division in a divorce proceeding. If you are receiving income from this property it is very likely that your spouse could receive a share of this income.

It is also likely that this income would be taken into consideration when determining alimony and child support.

To answer your last question, transferring property into a trust does not change it from marital to separate. If it was as simple as that, all persons going through a divorce would be transferring their property into trusts.

Moreover, if a judge determines that you are trying to conceal marital property the penalty could be much greater than losing 50% of the value of the property.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Kathryn Carruthers, an associate attorney in the Michigan offices, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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