When you’re keeping tally of who’ll get what in the divorce, it’s not as easy as it used to be. Bank statements and property values might make up a big chunk of the picture, but digital assets continue to grow as we spend more and more time with technology.
Over 80% of adults use the internet every day, which means more of our belongings wind up there too. When getting a divorce in Scottsdale, you’ll have to value and split property you share, including everything floating around online. It can be a complicated process, where the rules can change from asset to the next.
Steps to division:
While at first glance, you might not think much of dividing digital assets, but their prevalence, worth and fluid nature could make for complex proceedings:
- Determine ownership: Courts will generally split the property into marital and separate categories. Of course, for them to consider property, you will need to actually own it. Many online services don’t really sell you anything. Instead, you might have purchased a license to access online music, DVDs and books. This could mean you’re not dividing individual assets but accounts that you and your spouse share.
- Assign value: There’s no split until you know how much it’s all worth, and that can be tricky to do with digital property. Take businesses, for instance. Married couples share 3.7 million small businesses in America, and these days that often means an online storefront, social media account and marketing website. These assets will have to be valued by considering things like their worth and earning potential.
- Split equitably: Dividing non-physical assets isn’t always clean and simple. Intangible things like airline miles will be at the mercy of the airline. If the company allows for the transfer of miles into a new account, then the split could be easy. If the miles are non-transferable, then your spouse may get some other form of compensation to match what their portion of the miles is worth, or you could buy out their share.
Digital ownership can be a complicated grey area where the rules change depending on the asset. Understanding all the rules around digital property could be the difference in getting your fair share when it comes time for division.