Most Tennessee spouses undergoing divorce think about their family home, vehicles, art, bank accounts and other assets when it comes to asset division. However, in the age of the internet, we also have to think about our digital assets when it comes to deciding who will own what after a split. So, what happens to digital assets like an iTunes library, for example?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of existing case law that lawyers and their clients can use to guide them through the digital asset division process. The issue is complicated by the fact that digital assets are not something that you can tangibly hold and feel, like jewelry, automobiles and real estate. Also, when it comes to an iTunes music library, you cannot simply split a song in two. Though, conceivably, you might be able to split the music 50/50, with some songs going to one spouse and other songs going to the other spouse.
Of course, Tennessee family law courts do not consider which spouse downloaded which songs — or which spouse downloaded which digital ebooks — because digital assets will be viewed as any other asset purchased or acquired during marriage, and say that both spouses have equal ownership claim to the assets.
There is also that fact that, with a lot of digital assets, ownership rights cannot be transferred based on the user agreement. Many user agreements state that ownership of downloaded iTunes cannot be transmitted to another party. That said, in lieu of transferring the music, a judge might award assets or another piece of property to the other spouse in compensation.
Long story short, Tennessee law may not be entirely clear on how an iTunes music library should be treated in asset division proceedings. However, through effective negotiations and the help of an experienced divorce lawyer, couples can arrive at an agreement with regard to how these assets should be fairly divided along with the rest of the property the couples share.
Source: Mainstreet, “Dividing Digital Assets in Divorce,” accessed Oct. 28, 2016