Unfriending: Who Gets the Virtual Goods?
The marital estate includes property, goods and debt accumulated by a couple during their marriage. In a New York divorce, those marital assets are divided equitably. But what happens to assets in the digital domain?
As a resource for evidence of over-the-top spending and other unsavory behavior of opposing parties, Facebook and other social media can prove popular during a divorce proceeding. Those accounts are also becoming the focus of couples who seek to divide sometimes sizeable online assets including:
- Joint social media accounts — With Facebook or Twitter, who gets the friends and followers and who gets the credits, photographs and joint email accounts?
- Digital rights — Online art, music and video collections can have real-world value. How do you divide the family cloud?
- Virtual property — Who gets the real estate on Planet Calypso or the Second Life, and Farmville bucks and other nonphysical assets of virtual worlds?
For complicated high-asset divorces, forensic specialists are used to locate and value property and other accounts. In the digital world, assets and money can easily disappear into bitcoins or other virtual currency until after a divorce is concluded.
The value of virtual products, game accessories, property and other yet-to-be created commercial goods are only going to increase. As couples and families buy into the virtual world and its services, those shared properties and expenses will become yet another piece for family law courts to locate and divide upon divorce.
One of the first tasks couples undertake when considering divorce is creating a list of their property and valuables. Make sure you include those in the digital domain. When you need aggressive, experienced legal advice, speak with us at Bryan L. Salamone and Associates, P.C.