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Divorce and Family Law

Don’t overlook the value of digital assets in your divorce

Years ago, “dividing up the vinyl records” was a big sign that a relationship was truly over — and splitting a significant collection of music could spark a serious fight in a divorce.

Now, you might find yourself fighting with your spouse over who has the right to the iTunes account — or maybe an online gaming account like Steam. People who aren’t music lovers or gamers may not realize how serious an issue a couple’s digital assets can be, but an online music account that a couple has held together may have several thousands of dollars in value. A jointly built gaming account could be worth even more.

Digital assets can be a big sticking point in your divorce. Even though they aren’t something that you can touch or hold, they do have an actual value — just like tangible items. Unfortunately, unlike tangible goods, digital assets aren’t so easily divided. For example, you can’t just transfer half a Steam account to your spouse.

In order to get a fair split in your divorce, it’s important to take a few steps before you start any negotiations with your spouse:

Make a list of the digital assets

Whether the assets are in your name or your spouse’s name is irrelevant. Marital property includes anything that was acquired after your marriage, so it may take some work to determine whether or not a specific digital asset belongs to you, your spouse or is jointly owned.

Don’t forget these possible assets

It’s easy to overlook digital assets, so make sure that you include:

  • Digital media accounts, including those that hold movies (like Vudu), music (such as iTunes) and books (like Kindle)
  • Digital photo accounts (such as Photobucket or Cloud storage)
  • Gaming accounts (Steam, for example), whether they have actual purchased games or license subscriptions
  • Cryptocurrency accounts (like Bitcoin)

Try to take an inventory of what’s in the account so that you have an idea of whether or not the asset is valued at a few hundred dollars or several thousand. That makes a big difference when it comes time to negotiate.

Dividing your digital property during a divorce isn’t easy, but an experienced attorney can help. Our office will be glad to discuss your situation with you.