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Is Your Ex-Spouse Entitled To A Share Of The Royalties Of Your Book?


Second wave feminists used to say that behind every great man is a great woman, and some of the twentieth century’s most iconic achievements in the arts and sciences would support that assertion.  Credit for some of the most memorable images from the original Star Wars trilogy belongs to Marcia Griffin, who was married to George Lucas in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when he made the first three movies, and who worked closely with him on the trilogy.  If you have any concept of what DNA looks like, it is due to Odile Crick’s drawing of the nucleic acid double helix described by her husband Francis Crick and his co-authors.  Spouses collaborate on professional and creative projects so often that ownership rights to the fruits of their labors and the proceeds of these fruits is often a point of dispute in divorce cases.  If you and your ex-spouse are at odds about who is entitled to what share of royalties or other proceeds related to one spouse’s intellectual property, contact a Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

Wife Requests a Share of the Royalties of Book Husband Wrote While Their Divorce Was Pending

Max, a professor, wrote a textbook which went to press in several editions.  When Max and his wife Laura divorced after 46 years of marriage, the court awarded her a share of the future royalties he would receive from books he had written during the marriage.  The dispute was over the fourth edition of Max’s popular textbook, which he sent to the publisher the day before the parties’ divorce trial.  Max argued that he had only begun working on the fourth edition after Laura filed the divorce petition, and therefore, she was not entitled to any royalties from it.  The appeals court ruled that the equitable distribution should be based on the parties’ assets at the time of the filing of the divorce petition; therefore, the fourth edition of the textbook was not part of the marital estate.

The moral of the story is that books that one spouse writes during the marriage are marital property.  Whether your ex co-authored the book with you, proofread every line, or just whined to her friends that you were a loser for writing a book instead of getting a real job, the proceeds of the book are money that you earned during the marriage.  Just as your ex-spouse can get a share of your retirement pension, your ex can also get a share of the royalties from your book.

Let Us Help You today

Marital property is the assets that a couple acquired during the marriage; for purposes of equitable distribution, it does not matter who earned what or who spent what.  A South Florida divorce lawyer can help you resolve disputes about equitable distribution of the royalties from your books.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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