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Many of us now record our histories digitally, and experience entertainment media online or downloaded from the web. In short, much of our assets are digital. How do we address these in divorce? The answer, generally, is that digital assets are very similar to physical ones and should be divided in the same way as other property. In some cases, there is no need to divide property because it can easily be duplicated for both spouses.
Streaming Services And Purchased Digital Downloads
If you are like most Americans, your household probably has family subscriptions to numerous streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and HBO Now. What happens to these accounts after the divorce?
Thankfully, there are a few easy options. You can:
- Cancel shared streaming services and just open individual accounts
- Split up which spouse pays for which service and continue to share mutual access to them
- Split up which spouse owns which service and decide not to share (based on lack of interest from either spouse)
A slightly trickier issue is what to do with purchased digital downloads like music and movies bought on iTunes or Amazon Prime. But this is fairly easy to solve as well. You could:
- Split up media according to which spouse originally wanted to purchase it.
- Keep a shared account open so that both spouses can access content purchased on it.
- Have one spouse keep the content and buy out the other spouse’s financial share in it by trading an equivalent amount of other shared assets.
- Copy jointly owned media for the other spouse, when copying is allowed.
Protect Your Most Important Digital Assets: Family Photos And Videos
From a dollar-value perspective, sharing family photos and videos should be a non-issue. You own these assets together, you can easily copy them and ensure that both spouses keep 100 percent of these important files.
Unfortunately, these assets can also be in danger during a contentious divorce if one spouse decides to spitefully withhold from the other (or delete them before the other spouse can get to them). If you’re worried about this, you’ll need to speak to your lawyer and have a sharing provision included in the divorce agreement.
If you have children together, you may decide you’d like to include an agreement to share all photos and videos (featuring just the children) going forward. This would be one way to ensure that you don’t miss out on mementos of moments that you may not have been present for, such as recitals or school plays. Such an agreement would be a little difficult to enforce, but putting it in writing and agreeing to abide by it would be an act of mutual good will for mutual benefit.
Working With A Lawyer For All Aspects Of Your Divorce
Whether you’re splitting up downloaded movies, copying family photos or deciding on who stays in the marital residence, it’s important to work with an experienced divorce attorney, such as from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, who understands all aspects of divorce and property division. To learn more about how a lawyer can help you, contact a law firm to arrange an initial consultation.