Divorcing couples or those seeking separation must carefully evaluate their assets and debts when navigating the process of property division. Assets can run the gamut from homes and vehicles to a family business and prized collections. With technological advancements, however, couples are spending more time and money developing digital assets that must also be split.
While historically, the term digital assets was used to define business properties such as security, process documentation or a formula, the definition has now broadened in scope to include personal assets. When a couple chooses to end the marriage, they must divide their accumulated marital assets which might include online elements such as:
- Social networking sites: It is not uncommon for a married couple to work together to build an online presence. Through social networking, photo hosting or blogs, they can stay in contact with friends, family members and co-workers the world over. When the marriage ends, however, which partner maintains ownership of the sites?
- Entertainment collections: While couples will likely still have a physical book and DVD collection to divide, more and more entertainment collections are stored online. Books, movies, music and video games can all be purchased, downloaded and enjoyed from various tech platforms.
- Online shops: From eBay to Facebook Marketplace, it is easy for individuals to start an online store to sell their used merchandise. Unfortunately, while this is easy to start, it takes effort to maintain. Building client relationships, designing a web presence and collecting positive reviews can represent countless hours of effort.
- Customer loyalty programs: Retailers can face strict competition in the online environment. They develop rewards programs to keep customers coming back. With years of buying power between them, a couple can amass airline miles, cash-back bonuses, gift cards and other perks that could be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Digital marital assets can be complex properties to divide. Couples are encouraged to seek guidance with any questions regarding a divorce or separation.