When dividing marital property, what value do your digital assets have?

Digital assets during divorce have become a vital focus in today’s divorces. We have already discussed the importance of considering digital assets for estate planning, and if you assumed they were also an important aspect of marital property division, you were right.

Of course some digital assets, such as photos and family memorabilia may simply have sentimental rather than monetary value. However, other digital assets during divorce and especially those in a family owned business could be worth substantial financial amounts.

When Dividing Digital Assets During Divorce, How Are They Characterized?

The first step in dividing digital assets is to characterize which assets are separate and which are marital property.

The same divorce laws that apply to tangible property basically apply to digital property. Property acquired by one spouse prior to marriage that has been kept separate during the marriage is separate and not marital property, which means such digital assets are not subject to property division.

However, if one spouse had an asset and the other contributed to make it more valuable, the contributing spouse would be entitled to receive some of the asset’s value. An example would be a vacation home owned by one spouse that the other spouse worked on to upgrade or maintain or paid to have upgraded or maintained.

Similarly, if one spouse created business blogs to advertise a business and the other spouse edited or posted the blogs, then this asset is considered jointly owned and would be subject to property division.

Some digital assets are non-transferrable to another spouse, in which case the spouse owning the digital asset would have to monetarily reimburse the other spouse or give the other spouse an asset of equal value, the asset was joint property.

What Are Common Types of Digital Assets During Divorce That Are Subject to Property Division ?

The American Bar Associationdiscusses digital property and provides specific examples of dividing them in a divorce case. Some types of digital property include:

  • Twitter accounts
  • Facebook accounts
  • Blogs
  • Photo-sharing websites
  • iTunes accounts
  • Kindle, Nook and other e-book accounts
  • Amazon
  • Netflix
  • eBay storefront
  • Online business websites
  • Gaming Sites that use real currency to purchase virtual property
  • Business blogs producing advertising income
  • Copyrighted material
  • Domain names
  • Email Accounts
  • Dropbox and other data storage/sharing accounts
  • Youtube pages
  • Digital artwork
  • Digital Photos
  • Bitcoins

If you are planning to divorce, consult with our attorneys at Richardson Brown about your digital property and find out how we can help.