First of all, what are digital assets? Digital assets can be something as simple as photos stored on your phone. If you get a divorce, is your spouse entitled to copies of the family pictures? Who gets control of the Netflix account? Do you have your family videos saved in the cloud somewhere? Do you duplicate those? Who paid for the Amazon Prime membership last year? And that’s just the beginning. In the 1980s, a divorcing couple may have tried to divide their vinyl collection. Now, you may argue over who keeps the music streaming apps that you’ve worked so hard to “curate” over time.
However, digital assets could also mean much more than those small examples. Per Wikipedia, “A digital asset is anything that exists in a digital format and comes with the right to use.” Now that millennials are getting divorced, and are the largest demographic group with digital assets, it is now a factor that needs to be considered in divorce.
By now, most people have heard of bitcoin, and know how to address those accounts, and the same thing goes for checking Venmo/PayPal/CashApp and/or Apple Pay accounts during a divorce to make sure the other party is not hiding money. However, that is still just the tip of the iceberg. One of the newer digital asset categories seems to be “NFTs,” or non-fungible tokens. NFTs are units of data stored on a digital ledger (aka a blockchain). A blockchain certifies a digital asset, which means that it is unique, and therefore, not interchangeable. An NFT can represent a photo, video, audio clip, etc. An NFT would not represent something like bitcoin because bitcoin can be traded for other bitcoin and it would be the same thing.
When someone does have digital assets such as cryptocurrency, the question becomes-what is it worth? These types of digital assets are still very volatile and the market changes frequently. Therefore, unless there is an account that truly represents a large portion of the marital estate, it may not be worth having the account valued. If the parties cannot agree on an amount, it is unlikely at this point that a judge would assign a value to it, and many judges may not yet realize that it is truly an asset that could be divided. There are digital asset experts, but you should decide if it is worth having such assets valued before retaining such an expert. For example, if you have a small bitcoin account, it may not matter; but if you have an incredibly rare digital sports card that is an NFT, that may factor into the division of your marital estate more. It should be noted that since an NFT is a singular, unique item that cannot be duplicated or divided, the actual NFT cannot be divided in a divorce agreement, but the value of such, or the proceeds received from the sale of such can be divided.
There is also value to social media accounts if one party in a divorce is an “influencer.” However, there is both tangible and intangible value associated with these accounts. If someone is earning profits from being an influencer (including but not limited to free goods/services, etc.), then that will count as a stream of income. It is similar to owning a business and if the influencer is popular enough, and there is value associated with his or her account, that may also need to be valued. This division of either a stream of income or a financial asset associated with a social media account can become more complicated if both parties contribute to the social media-influencing, or, if it is determined that the value of such would decrease after a divorce.
If this sounds complicated or overwhelming, it is because it can be. Don’t try to “go it alone” with your divorce. Ever Argue with a Woman? Contact Wolf & Shore Law Group for assistance with your dissolution matter. We’re here to make your divorce easier, not harder, and to help you ensure an equitable division of your assets.
NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), cryptocurrencies, and social media influence are some of the more popular ways that people can increase their net worth. And if these individuals are married and considering divorce after amassing wealth from the fruits of their digital labor, then we, as divorce professionals, must be able to accurately identify and evaluate these assets and income streams as part of the dynamic divorce process.