One of the issues during divorce is division of the marital estate. As more people invest money online, the division of digital services and property becomes a bigger dilemma.
In Connecticut, property and assets of the marital estate are divided equitably by the court. This means, absent an agreement created by the divorcing couple, the court divides all monies, debt, investments and properties accumulated by the couple during their marriage using a standard of fairness, not equality.
With robust online services and communities, the wealth of some couples extends into the cloud, making property more difficult to divide, and sometimes to find. Types of online assets include:
- Virtual property: Games like Planet Calypso, Second Life and Farmville give gamers the opportunity to buy objects and property in alternative online reality play. Assets earned in virtual worlds translate to real-world dollars. If you have a spouse who plays virtual reality games, you are advised to investigate the money invested and gained in these settings.
- Alternative currency: Along with virtual property, online games offer alternative currency that can have significant physical value. Bitcoin currency, currently under investigation by the Senate, offers a very real opportunity to stash cash until a divorce case is long concluded.
- Social media: Who gets the Twitter, Facebook or MySpace account? What about the email account?
- Services and assets: Many couples spend substantial money on music collections that have licensing restrictions. File-sharing problems become important with online photographs, and artists now create cyber-art that holds value and exists only online.
Digital goods are bound to proliferate. If considering divorce in Connecticut, seek experienced legal advice about obtaining a complete and fair division of your marital property during divorce.