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How to split your digital assets in divorce

Facebook has been in the news often and cited as a common reason for divorces within Texas and across the nation. However, with the onslaught of technology these days, what happens to other digital accounts that couples may jointly own? That’s the question being asked more and more often by some couples. Technology is rampant and can invade our lives, but when a divorce occurs, who gets the iPads, Farmville assets or even the iTunes library?

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers recently cited Facebook and other social media posts as a major place to gather evidence in a divorce. In fact, 80 percent of divorce cases in some way cited the social media sites as evidence in their cases. In fact, some judges have ordered significant others to share their passwords for social media and other websites during divorce.

We’ve established that the digital world can play a large role in divorce, but who gets the digital property? Joint property in the past used to mean furniture, kitchen items and pictures. Now it includes Flickr accounts, someone’s Twitter followers, Xboxes and even laptops.

If the couple has kept things separate, it can be a simple process. Unfriend the in-laws and anyone else who may have sided with the ex and then lock down your privacy settings. However, if an iTunes or Facebook account is used together, it can make things a little murkier. If a couple goes through an acrimonious divorce and cannot agree on who gets what, such details can be laid out in a divorce settlement.

Although it may seem silly to consider Farmville or other gaming assets during property division, such items can bring real money into a marriage and should be worth considering. In one case, a player of Entropia Universe purchased a virtual asteroid for a staggering $100,000. However, he then later sold his virtual nightclub for over $600,000. Once the virtual world crosses into the world of high-stakes money, these assets are definitely worth looking into when a Texas couple goes through a divorce.

Source: Mashable Lifestyle, “Digital Divorce: Who Gets Which Accounts in the Split?” Margaret Rock, Oct. 10, 2012

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