Divorce and the splitting of digital assets

Property division has always been one of the more contentious aspects of a divorce, but the digital age is introducing new sticking points and potential headaches for many couples seeking a clean split from their spouse. Specifically, digital assets are forcing couples to think harder about the virtual value of all that they currently share.

The hangups can be numerous. For example, who gets a shared social media account? How are digital photos, music and other virtually stored data to be split? What about computer gaming accounts — who gets virtual property earned as achievements in online games such as Farmville?

Although they might seem trivial to non-gamers, these assets can have a very tangible value to divorcing couples. Not only that, but they could serve as potential pawns for a spouse to use in the divorce process.

Not only that, but some of these virtual assets can carry actual real-world value. Some items earned in computer games, for example, are often sold to other gamers who seek to be the best at the particular game. Believe it or not, the profits from these sales can be considerable.

And virtual properties can also affect the outcome of the divorce process. One survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 80 percent of divorce cases within the last five years saw social media information used as evidence in the court battle.

So when couples decide to end their marriage once and for all, they must also be prepared for the possibility of losing some of their virtual territory and belongings — and as more of our daily lives take place online, this could be a hard pill for many individuals to swallow.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about dissolution of marriage or the division of valuable assets, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


Mashable, “Digital divorce: Who gets which accounts in the split?,” Margaret Rock, Oct. 10, 2012