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Dividing digital assets

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2023 | Family Law

One cannot go a day without reading an article or seeing a news story about Millennials or Generation Z changing something or destroying something. And, we can add this post to the list as Millennials and Generation Z are changing the way Mahwah, New Jersey, divorce courts are handling the property division process because of their digital assets.

What are digital assets?

Digital assets can be anything electronic with a login or otherwise. They can be cryptocurrencies, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), websites, social media sites, social media companies, “influencer brands,” etc. In fact, some couples’ entire lives and income can be generated entirely from online income streams. These streams can be from influencers singularly, as a couple, from traditional influencers on Instagram, Twitter and the like, or newer social media, like TikTok.

Why does this make the property division process complicated?

Take cryptocurrencies as an example. Cash keeps its value relatively well, so $20 at the beginning of the divorce will likely still be worth $20 at the end. However, $20 of any cryptocurrency at the beginning of a divorce could be worthless or worth $1,000 by the end of the divorce. How do you split this kind of asset, and do you constantly have to redo the split throughout the process up until the very last day of the divorce?

Another example is NFTs. They are like art and cryptocurrencies where there is a market, but you could also bring in an expert to project future value. Do you go by the future value or the current market value?

What about online income? If the entire value of that online income is derived from TikTok, does the court mandate a percentage of that income to the other spouse, like alimony? Does that mean that the court is mandating the paying spouse continue doing social media videos to pay the other spouse? These are all very complicated questions that there are no clear answers to and sometimes your case may be the one setting precedent in Mahwah, New Jersey.