Social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook are beginning to take their location in the pantheon of highly contested properties for separating couples in California. As we all know, couples liquefying their marital relationships divide a large variety of possessions already– everything from autos and homes to stock choices, companies and art work. The inevitable fact is that social media accounts are home, and as the value of such property increases, so too will the litigation surrounding them.
In California, absent a prenup, any asset gotten throughout marital relationship is considered community property and should be divided evenly between divorcing partners. Any type of home acquired prior to marital relationship, after the date of separation, or through gift or bequest (meaning inheritance) is thought about different home and immune from department. There are obviously exceptions to these rules, but that’s a good overview.
By this definition, social networks accounts created during marital relationship will virtually definitely be distinguished as community property. Accounts created prior to marital relationship could also be defined as community property in part, depending on whether the value increased throughout the marital relationship, and whether the personal effort of either partner helped in that increase (which of course it would have).
The terms of service of the different social networks business additionally play a duty in specifying whether an account is considered property and subject to division. Twitter, for instance, defines the content which individuals create as the property of the individual. Twitter sees the content as separate from the account services themselves which Twitter provides. Arguably, the right to access the account and manipulate the content is a kind of property as well.
The material within the accounts, and the right to access the accounts both increasingly have economic worth, and couples justifiably wish to include all value to the marital asset division calculus.
The huge difficulty, of course, is valuing the accounts. Assessment has actually always been even more of an art than a science. This is even more the case when it involves untested copyright assets like social networks accounts. Some parties are looking to the actual company flowing from the accounts as a standard for identifying worth. Others are more inclined to take a multiple of earnings– the obstacle being that profits are just starting to manifest for these assets.
This area of property division is new, but it’s warming up. Asset division provides numerous difficulties to separating couples. Careful attention should be paid to effectively value and divide IP, especially this noticeably challenging kind of IP. A person finding to divide a social media account, just like any possession, is well advised to look for the counsel of a seasoned California family law lawyer.