Divorcing? Make Sure Your Marital Balance Sheet Is Complete

Thoughtware Alert Published: Apr 01, 2022

Splitting up “marital assets” during a divorce is an exercise where one boils their entire lives down to a list of assets and debts.  While it may sound simplistic, there are a lot of moving parts, which means an increased risk that the list is incomplete or the values could be manipulated. 


Below are key questions for you and your legal counsel to consider: 

  • Is this listing of assets and debts complete? 
  • Do the values of the assets and debts make sense?  

The first article in this series described tips to help develop a complete list, such as pulling a credit report and looking at the tax return. There are other assets you may consider that would not show up on these forms, e.g., virtual assets. 


Virtual assets are not new, but in our experience, courts have been slow to recognize the value of these nontangible assets; however, progress is being made. Here are some virtual assets and tips on assigning a value to them for your marital balance sheet. 

  • Cryptocurrency: The value changes daily. Look up the specific type of cryptocurrency owned, e.g., Bitcoin, for the correct date to calculate the value.  
  • Credit Card Reward Points: The simplest way to give this asset value is to research the cash or cash-like value you would receive through the redemption of the points. Using the rewards section of the relevant online account, find the value that you could receive if you were to redeem the points for gift cards or “cash back” applied to your statement. This is the value to use on your marital balance sheet.
  • Frequent Flier Miles/Airline Points: Even if only one individual was the jetsetter in the marriage, unredeemed frequent flier points earned by either spouse during a marriage are considered marital property. Much like with credit card points, for each airline, you can research how much a ticket costs, then determine how many points it would take to purchase that ticket. For example, if a $1,500 ticket costs 50,000 points, then 400,000 points is approximately worth $12,000.
  • Digital Music Library: There are those who built up quite the music library in the 2000s and 2010s. You can look up the current value to purchase the song/album today and apply that cost to each library item. This will provide a value for the marital balance sheet.  
  • Digital Book Collection: eBooks are not inexpensive. Much like your digital music library, you can assign the current price to purchase each digital book to estimate a value for the marital balance sheet.  
  • “Assets” Within Online Games: Below is a sample list of online game assets. As with digital music and eBooks, the estimated value is the going rate to purchase the item today.  
    • Fortnite – “V-Bucks”
    • World of Warcraft – “gold”
    • Second Life  – “Linden Dollars”
    • FarmVille  – “Cash” 

Making sure values are assigned to your marital assets is an important task. You need to feel confident in the numbers that calculate the equitable division of your assets. Stay tuned for the next article in this series where we address financial games that are played in divorce that may alert you to ways your financial balance sheet may be manipulated.  

For more information, reach out to your advisor or submit the Contact Us form below.
 

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