With social media playing such a significant role in the lives of most Texas residents, many couples recognize the importance of creating rules around the use of social media in a marriage. You may even consider the inclusion of such rules in a prenup. However, have you taken the time to consider the value of the digital assets you will be bringing into your marriage?
Look at the value of your music collection, and if you are a keen photographer, your digital images might be of tremendous emotional value to you. Have you accumulated large numbers of frequent flyer miles, and what about the incentive rewards on online accounts? Add your Bitcoin balance to these, and the total value (both tangible and sentimental) of your digital assets could be significantly higher that you may realize.
How will your digital assets be treated if you file for divorce?
All marital assets are typically subject to property division in the event of a divorce. You can have a say in that division by drafting a prenuptial agreement, or you can leave it up to a family court judge to determine the division of your marital property. What you brought into a marriage typically remains your property, but with digital assets that both parties may share, determining ownership may prove quite tricky in the event of a divorce. Here are some tips on strategies for addressing these assets when drafting a prenup:
- Separate or joint accounts — Maintaining separate accounts might cost more, but it can avoid complications when assets such as iTunes, other digital music, games, movies and apps must be divided. The prenup can state that the digital assets in the separate accounts of the two of you will remain separate. In contrast, sharing digital accounts can complicate the division of assets because many entertainment sites allow only one-user licenses, and apps or games are not transferrable — meaning one spouse must “buy-out” the other after determining a value for each account.
- Agree to share — You and your partner can agree to share digital assets that allow copying such as some music, home movies, photos and more. However, you may want to add restrictions to the sale of any shared material, to the public sharing of any shared material and to the publishing of images without the other spouse’s consent.
- Identify separate digital ownership — If you have a business, it might have digital assets linked to it. Along with your personal digital accounts, you can specify the digital property of your business and indicate whether those assets will remain separate or divisible in the event of a divorce.
Regardless of how organized your digital assets are, Texas divorce laws will govern the division of your property if you decide to end your marriage. Professional assistance may be necessary to make sure your prenuptial agreement complies with state laws and includes all tangible and digital assets. The skills of an experienced divorce attorney can assist with drafting an agreement that will hold up in court, which may prove instrumental in your ability to avoid a judge deciding what should happen with your digital assets.