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Describing and Quantifying Intellectual Assets In Prenups

A recently published report shows that more and more millennials are asking their significant others to sign prenuptial agreements to protect their intellectual assets before they walk down the aisle. If we think of a marriage as some type of contract in itself, this growing trend shouldn't come as a shock to most.

While ideally parties to a marriage enter into it with the expectation of it lasting long term, statistics regarding divorce rates don't show this to be the case. Having a prenup in place ensures that partners in a relationship protect their assets so that they can have something to fall back on if their relationship ultimately ends.

Previous generations historically have looked to have prenups as a way of protecting their interests such as salaries, personal property or real estate. For millennials though, protecting their rights to the value of their intellect is most important to them.

If we consider an employee at an innovative startup, he or she might be asked to sign a nondisclosure or non-compete agreement to ensure he or she doesn't run off with a company's insight and start up a competing business. Likewise, modern day prenups are seen as ways to ensure an ex doesn't use his or her former spouse's insight to wage a competitive war against him or her.

That being said, writing a prenuptial agreement that accounts for intellectual property isn't the easiest thing to do. Describing sometimes complex, pioneering or technology trends is not always easy to put into words. When it comes to assigning a value to emerging schools of thought, cutting edge technology or how successful it has the potential to become; that task can be even harder.

New York courts routinely recognize prenups. In the absence of proof the agreement was signed under duress, a judge readily accepts a prenup at face value.  With that said, spouses, who might take it upon themselves to sacrifice potentially lucrative careers themselves as their spouse develops their intellectual properties, are usually the ones that suffer. This is particularly true where the sacrificing spouse contributes to the development of the protected intellectual property and it ultimately takes off creating a windfall for the spouse having sole right to intellectual property.

If you are considering having a prenup drafted between you and your partner before you get married, our office can provide you with right guidance to help you decide how best to negotiate the prenup.

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