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Crafting a prenup? Be sure to cover digital assets

Experienced Houston family law practitioners know that one key purpose of creating prenuptial agreement is to make clear how assets are to be handled in the event of a divorce. Material things usually covered include cars, houses, and cash. But what about assets that aren’t physical? Digital assets, such as online accounts, digital media, cryptocurrency, web domains, and data, could have potential value, too. And if value exists, it may be subject to division in divorce.

Digital assets, like physical ones, require careful management. Following are some tips on how they can be incorporated into a prenup.

Keep accounts separate

Purchasing a physical item usually confers ownership to whoever bought it. This is not the case with digital assets. Just because you have bought a movie or CD online doesn’t mean it belongs to you. Many companies simply grant you a single-user license to access the content. Maintaining separate accounts may cost you more, but it can make division easier later. If a digital asset happens to be transferable, the prenup could set an acceptable cash value to be paid by the retaining spouse to the other.

Determine an assets value

In this growing ecommerce environment, social media accounts – especially those associated with a business or person's occupation – can accrue value. Individual websites and even blogs might deserve valuation for better determination of division questions later.

Copy if you can

Some assets, such as photos and home videos can be copied without violating copyrights. Some items cannot. iTunes files with Digital Rights Management protection serve as an example of the latter. You can agree to copy what you can. You might also include a stipulation in the prenup prohibiting the reproduction or sale of certain shared photos if protecting likeness rights is a concern.

In what amounts to a brave new world, it's very possible to not know your rights. Working with skilled counsel offers essential protection.

Source: FindLaw, "3 Legal Tips on How to Handle Digital Assets in a Prenuptial Agreement," by George Khoury, Esq., accessed Oct. 13, 2017

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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