When creating an inventory for purposes of property division, there are certain items that are obvious to include. For example, it is unlikely you would miss cars, furniture or artwork. You also are likely aware that stocks and retirement funds will be part of the settlement negotiations. But there are other, less visible assets that could have value.
If your spouse is an inventor or otherwise involved in some form of creative endeavor, he or she may be in possession of some very valuable intellectual property. Intellectual property can include such things as software, copyrights, trademarks, and patents.
In regard to property division, the above-mentioned items are sometimes referred to as "intangible assets." It is not uncommon for an employee or the founder of a high-tech company to have ownership of such assets.
So, let's say your spouse is involved with a high-tech company, as an owner, employee or shareholder. It is possible that he or she has a share of the intellectual property created by and for that business. An example could be a piece of software developed for use or sale by the company.
Now, if that business should fail, as is often the case with startups, it is quite possible that the rights to that software are all that are of value. This means that even if the company goes down, there could still be profits from the sale of the software. Therefore, shares of that piece of intellectual property should be an asset listed in the property inventory.
This is just a single scenario in which overlooking or being unaware of an intangible asset could cost you money in a divorce settlement. And locating and valuating such assets can be difficult if you don't know what to look for.
Fortunately, if you want help uncovering assets for complex property division, you can enlist the aid of an experienced property division attorney.