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Intellectual property and prenuptial agreements

Over 800 lawyers say they have seen an increase in the number of millennials wanting prenuptial agreements before they marry. That number comes from a survey of 1,600 lawyers by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

One family lawyer from Atlanta says that millennials -- the name given to Americans between the ages of 18 and 35 -- "are getting older and richer. Prenups used to be for old money, but now prenups do different things, like safeguarding intangible property." Just 10 years ago, the attorney said that out of all the prenups his firm handled, only about 5 percent were for millennials. Today, it's about 25 percent.

Instead of prenups that focus on inherited cash or alimony, millennials are interested in protecting something else: intellectual property. This might be songs, films, software, apps, screenplays and more. Real estate normally included in prenups, too, for people of all ages.

Millennials want to protect what has been created. It might be a business that a spouse wants to open in the future or a book that hasn't even been written yet. It's the ideas that they want to protect.

This isn't an easy task. The intellectual property has to be valued and that in itself is a gray area.

Another interesting thing is that requests by millennials for partnership agreements and cohabitation agreements have risen in the last few years, too. While the divorce rate is falling, the number of millennials getting married is also falling. There's a theory bouncing around that couples who get married later in life have a better chance of staying together. Millennials haven't had a chance to prove that true or false yet.

If you're considering a prenuptial agreement for intellectual property, you will want an attorney who is familiar with drafting this type of document and identifying values for each idea. He or she can then ensure your ideas are protected should a divorce occur.

Source: Bloomberg, "Prenups for Ideas Are All the Rage With Millennials," Polly Mosendz, Nov. 01, 2016

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