How does Virginia treat digital assets in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | High-Asset Divorce |

In a Virginia high-asset divorce, the treatment of digital assets can significantly impact the equitable distribution of marital property. Digital assets encompass a broad spectrum, including cryptocurrency, websites, social media accounts and non-fungible tokens. Understanding how Virginia addresses these assets is crucial for safeguarding your interests throughout the divorce process.

Defining digital assets

Digital assets reside in the digital realm or are stored on online platforms, and they take various forms, such as cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.), websites (blogs, e-commerce sites, etc.), social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and NFTs (CryptoKitties, NBA Top Shot, etc.).

Virginia’s approach to digital asset division

Virginia follows an equitable distribution model. This model aims for a fair and just allocation of marital property based on diverse factors. Digital assets, like other property, are classified as either marital or separate based on their acquisition. Marital assets, acquired during marriage or with marital funds, are subject to equitable distribution.

Classification of digital assets

Cryptocurrency kept separate and acquired pre-marriage or with separate funds is separate property. Otherwise, it is marital, if acquired during marriage or with marital funds. This is the same for websites, social media accounts, NFTs and all other digital assets.

Valuation challenges and court decisions

Determining the fair market value of digital assets poses challenges due to volatility and regulatory gaps. Courts may rely on expert testimony, appraisals, market data or transaction records. These experts provide evidence to the court and post-valuation, the courts distribute digital assets based on equitable distribution factors. This could involve assigning each spouse their share, a buyout arrangement or selling assets and dividing the proceeds.

Protecting your digital assets

To safeguard your digital assets during divorce proceedings, disclose all assets transparently. Gather and preserve documentation related to ownership, classification and value. Engage a reputable digital asset expert for accurate valuation. Consider negotiation with your spouse for a mutually agreeable settlement. By understanding Virginia’s approach and taking proactive measures, you can navigate the complexities of digital asset division and secure a fair outcome in your high-asset divorce.