Our survey of over 2000 people revealed that more than half of
people (55%) do not realise that a divorce settlement will include
online assets such as air miles, or virtual currencies like
Bitcoin may be far from mainstream, but many of us collect
points: Tesco Clubcard, Boots or Avios – the travel reward
scheme that also covers thousands of brands like supermarkets,
restaurants and car rental firms.
Our data shows that for many people, loyalty points feel very
personal, and arguably more intangible than the more traditional
forms of asset such as an ISA or savings. It seems many people do
not consider them an 'asset' that may form part of a
What does the law say?
In reality, the law sees online assets as no different to any
other asset, and they will be part of a settlement. A fair, final
agreement must take into account everything an individual owns
– whether online or in the real world.
As well as digital currencies like Bitcoin, some people have
significant funds online in locations like PayPal accounts, online
gambling sites or pre-paid credit cards. Times have changed, and
though it may be more difficult to glean accurate information about
the value of online assets, than, for example, property, it's
an increasingly important factor to consider.
In some cases, lower value online assets such as points built up
on reward cards or air miles could be genuinely overlooked as
non-traditional assets. If this does occur then the Courts will
possibly look sympathetically on this. That is why it's
important for solicitors to follow up with detailed questions, or
else risk having online assets left out of the settlement. Although
not a common practice yet, digital currencies and online assets do
offer a way for unscrupulous spouses to try and hide wealth where
it is not easy to see or reach.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The well documented case of Heather Ilott and her attempt to overturn her Mother's will appears to have come to an end with the Supreme Court ruling that, whilst she may have be granted some money from her Mother's estate, it is a far smaller sum than the Court of Appeal awarded.
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