When a married couple in Washington decides to get divorced, they may face several challenges as they navigate the process. For those with children, matters of custody, visitation and child support typically take precedence. Many people also run into complications where assets are concerned, and nowadays, digital property is often a central focus of discussion.
Any online account or data, including videos, files, email, photographs, etc., is considered digital property. While some digitally owned property is of a more personal nature, other property may be connected to business ownership, investment or other formal transactions. When a couple gets divorced and the court makes decisions regarding asset division, digital property may be considered marital property in certain circumstances; this is why many people choose to separate ownership before their weddings, by drafting prenuptial agreements.
A prenuptial contract can be used to maintain separate ownership of digital game accounts, iTunes and/or collections (which can be worth thousands of dollars in some cases, such as certain digital trading cards). With regard to business, it may help to seek valuation of digital property before signing any agreement so that increase (or decrease) can be tracked. If some digital assets are meant to share (such as photographs), copies can be made, but stipulations are included in a prenuptial agreement that prohibit the sale of such items.
Generally speaking, no one usually enters marriage thinking their relationship will one day end in divorce. However, it happens, and many Washington couples would rather be as prepared as possible than be caught off guard by negative surprises later. A family law attorney can assist in all property division matters, including digital assets and marital versus separate ownership in prenuptial agreements, as well as any obstacles that arise during divorce proceedings.
Source: FindLaw, “3 Legal Tips on How to Handle Digital Assets in a Prenuptial Agreement“, Accessed on June 1, 2017