Berman & Asbel, LLP

Pennsylvania property division: Dealing with digital assets

Dividing up property during a divorce has the potential to cause many arguments for already tense Pennsylvania couples. Though some areas of property division can be easier to navigate than others, advances in technology have caused more and more non-physical property to come into question during division proceedings. Many couples may be at a loss as to how to divvy up digital property, but as technology continues to hold prevalent places among property, it is an important area to look into.

In the age where physical copies of music and books are becoming a second choice to digitally downloaded versions, dividing up such property can be difficult for court systems and couples. These types of shared accounts are relatively new areas in marital property and cannot be based on years of previous cases. In most instances, if the items were downloaded while the couple was married then it is considered marital property, and the specific party who downloaded the music or book or other media is not necessarily considered important.

Though division of such property may have to go the route of splitting such assets half-and-half, user agreements with companies holding the digital accounts can lead to more complications. As digital media may not be able to be transferred to different accounts, one party may be granted the digital music library while the other party is granted something else, such as airline miles. Some cases may look at who used certain accounts more, such as who was the more frequent flyer, when determining who should be entitled to which accounts.

As more and more assets are being claimed in the digital realm, new procedures for property division could be on the horizon. For now, couples should stay up to date on how marital property can be affected should they choose to divorce. Information on Pennsylvania property division and divorce laws could be helpful in determining who has rightful ownership to what assets.

Source: MainStreet, Dividing Digital Assets in Divorce, No author, Aug. 21, 2013

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