Divorce increasingly occurs online, with email accounts and social media profiles playing an especially important role in the process. The online interference doesn’t end there, however. Many couples own digital property, which, like any marital assets, must be divided equitably upon divorce. Below, we offer insight into the process of dividing digital assets.
How Online And Real-World Assets Differ
Online assets consist of intangibles that take a digital form. Examples include websites, digital media (such as videos or music), and reward points. In general, digital assets are subject to the same rules as all marital property. However, digital assets are unique in that they can be difficult to track down.
Many spouses are completely unaware of several of the digital property they own. Sometimes, the hidden nature of digital assets is purely accidental, but many spouses intentionally — and successfully — hide digital property from one another. For example, a spouse hoping to obscure gambling issues may fail to disclose assets such as reward points on gaming websites.
Solutions For Dividing Online Assets
Approaches to online asset division can vary based on the type of digital property and whether spouses make arrangements via mediation or in court. Spouses with separate accounts may prefer to retain access to those assets, particularly if their monetary value is similar. Otherwise, if assets are non-transferable, spouses may agree to (or a judge may order) a tangible award equal to the value of the digital assets.
Emotional value may factor into these decisions; images on social media or Shutterfly may be deemed as holding greater value than, say, a shared video streaming account. Ultimately, there is no one digital division strategy that works for all spouses; partners should seek accurate valuation and determine their personal priorities before proceeding with any given approach to property division.
As you deal with the complications of asset division, look to the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. for patient guidance and effective legal strategy. Get in touch today to learn more about your legal options.