Couples now must divide their digital assets in divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2021 | Divorce |

Divorcing couples must negotiate countless compromises through the process before beginning their new, independent futures. These negotiations can center on property division, debt responsibility, parenting plans and spousal support. As assets continue to evolve, however, property division can take on an added layer of complexity.

One element of property division that has gained prominence in the last decade is the notion of separating digital assets. Digital property refers to assets that exist in an online environment. While this phrase might have initially been designed to refer to shared websites or access to a photo-hosting site, it has evolved to mean much more. Today, divorcing couples are forced to examine, value and split assets such as the following:

  • Online storefronts: In recent years, it has become easier and easier to start what amounts to an online business. Whether you are selling secondhand goods or creative creations, developing a storefront is a necessity. From Facebook Marketplace to eBay, it is not uncommon for couples to curate a website, client base and a host of positive reviews. When the couple splits, however, who remains in control of the business?
  • Entertainment media collections: Fifteen or 20 years ago, a married couple would likely amass several display cases full of DVDs, books and compact discs. Now, those collections are likely housed online either on streaming services or saved as downloaded content. Movies, music, books and videogames must be examined and divided.
  • Customer rewards and cryptocurrencies: While these assets might have a more easily discernable value, they are still not tangible objects. They can include cash-back bonuses, airline miles, gift cards or account discounts. Additionally, currencies such as Bitcoin must be split between the divorcing couple.

While these might be three common categories, the list of digital assets continues to grow. Picture collections, shared social media accounts, a website, a blog or a YouTube channel, for example, might represent value and benefit to each party. Discuss your situation with an experienced family law attorney.