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How do digital assets factor into property division?

As people become more comfortable with living an online life, the prevalence of digital assets continues to grow. From digital movie collections to online retailer gift cards, these assets become more valuable to users year after year. When divorce becomes a reality, however, how can these intangible assets be divided?

The division and distribution of digital assets is a topic that has grown in relevance for the last decade and shows no signs of slowing. When a couple is facing divorce or separation, they must not only focus on tangible assets such as a house, car or valuable book collection, but also intangible assets that exist only in an online environment. These assets typically fall into three categories:

  • Entertainment collections: In general, these can include movies, music, books or video games. People spend years cultivating incredible collections of their favorite entertainment media. Typically, both spouses devote time and money to the collection over the years, making the division even more complex.
  • Online stores: While it is easy to create an online store on one of the countless available platforms, the challenge comes from its successful operation year over year. From eBay to Facebook Marketplace, it takes effort to not only build up the storefront but also cultivate positive customer reviews and client relationships.
  • Online currencies: Many people refer to these elements as “cash equivalents,” but they can be challenging to divide in divorce. From cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to online purchase rewards like a cash-back bonus or airline miles, these digital assets can quickly become extremely valuable to individuals and families alike.

A divorcing couple has many issues to work through from child support and spousal support to parenting plans and property division. The addition of digital assets can further complicate matters. With divorce on the horizon, a couple should take the time to list all assets and debts that will need to be addressed through the process. This now includes digital assets to be divided.

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