The complexity of dividing digital assets

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2022 | Property Division |

In recent decades, individuals have started living significant portions of their lives online. From shopping and communication to sharing vacation photos or new music, couples have followed this trend toward a digital presence. Unfortunately, when divorce becomes a reality, the couple must carefully analyze their digital assets and appropriately divide them.

The process of property division and determination of debt responsibility is often complicated by numerous factors. From a family business and retirement accounts to vacation property and deferred compensation, couples must thoroughly evaluate assets and debts when going through divorce. The presence of digital assets adds another layer of complexity to the proceedings.

What are digital assets?

It is a sweeping term that encompasses numerous factors such as:

  • Online persona: It is not uncommon for couples to share a social networking site, blog, website, file hosting site or video hosting site. Couples often devote significant time and effort in building and maintaining these various sites making it challenging to determine who should keep it going forward.
  • Digital storefront: Many couples choose to run a business during the marriage. Whether this is a brick-and-mortar company, a digital storefront, or a combination of both depends on numerous factors. The divorcing couple, however, must pay careful attention to how an online business is evaluated during property division.
  • Online shopper rewards: With the crowded online marketplace, retailers often choose to reward repeat business. Whether it is a cash-back bonus, airline miles, gift cards, discounts or other rewards, these can easily tally into thousands of dollars in value for the divorcing couple.
  • Digital entertainment collections: From books and movies to music and video games, a couple will often spend years curating an online entertainment collection. During the divorce, though, the court must monetize and divide this collection.

A divorcing couple has much to worry about during the legal process. From determining visitation and a parenting plan to support responsibility and property division, these negotiations are often challenging processes. It is important to remember even the smallest shared asset, physical or digital, when determining property division.