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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Do you need a prenuptial agreement to protect your ideas?

Before you ask, yes, prenuptial agreements (“prenups”) can and do protect ideas during divorces. Prenuptial agreements can divide up almost anything that is created, earned, or develops during the marriage. People use prenups to decide who gets the pets on which day and how to care for them. Prenups can be used for almost anything (except illegal activity).

Prenups are the latest way for couples to protect their “ideas.” The modern economy is driven by ideas. An idea for an app, an idea for a blog, an idea for a new flourless cake. The market for ideas has been expanding for the past 20 years and looks like it is headed for even stronger growth. In response, many couples are turning to prenuptial agreements to shield their ideas from their spouse during a divorce.

In a divorce, the other spouse is entitled to a piece of whatever the other spouse created, even if that creation is an idea. You may wonder, why would anyone fight for an idea? Imagine that your ex-spouse comes up with an idea for a new type of ride-hailing app, she comes up with the idea, but you develop it together. You divorce before the idea ever materializes. Fast-forward a few years and your ex-spouse launches a company built around a ride-hailing application and is an overnight hit and turns her into a billionaire.

In that situation, since you contributed to the idea there are some legal arguments in your favor to receive a piece of the new company. Prenups address those possibilities and assign the future property rights of any ideas to each respective spouse.

Divorce is an emotionally devastating experience for many people. That is why it is usually best to go through it with the assistance of a professional who deals with these issues every day. An attorney can help you navigate the emotional, financial, and divorce legal issues, including the merits of a prenuptial agreement. You don’t have to go through it alone; a lawyer can guide you to ensure that you receive a fair deal in the divorce.

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