By Rebecca H. Fischer of Fischer & Feldman, P.A. posted in Prenuptial Agreements on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
The internet is the wild west of the 21st century. That sentiment has been expressed since the internet became available to consumers in the early 1990s. In terms of tangible value, the internet and westward expansion have one big thing in common – establishment of new property. What was once open, digital space is now property with real world value.
Digital property is any personally established online information that defines your identity. It can be something as nonchalant as a social media account or a major financial asset like a website, online business, or online bank account.
Technology continues to outpace the law in terms of defining what is or is not digital property and who may or may not have access to it. Therefore, it is left to the couple to privately outline a plan for your digital assets in a prenuptial agreement.
Who has access to what?
Just like a brick-and-mortar business in a marriage, most assets become fungible marital property when you say ‘I do.’ Even if your online business or website was established before your marriage, giving your spouse access to these accounts could blur the line between mine and yours or his and hers.
Could a divorce lead to a temporary shutdown of your website or digital accounts? It’s possible if the fate of your business, and the subsequent financial fallout, is not outlined in a digital prenup.
Don’t forget about social media
While the internet is a vital channel for your business, it is also a source of information and entertainment via social media. As these platforms grow to become essential parts of our personal lives, so does the potential for its use to put stressors on a relationship.
Public posts and private messages on social media are more commonly cited in divorce proceedings than ever before. What you post on social media can be used against you. Therefore, extending a confidentiality agreement to social media can ensure that a casual conversation held in on a private chat platform isn’t taken out of context in the public’s eye.
The site-to-site variety of online terms should indicate the importance of clarity in your prenuptial agreement and estate plan when it comes to managing digital assets. An innovative and trusted law firm can help you write a plan for managing digital property.