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Ask Slashdot: Dividing Digital Assets In Divorce?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the don't-forget-your-malware dept.

Data Storage 458

An anonymous reader writes "I am a long time Slashdotter and currently find myself in the beginning of a divorce process. How have you dealt with dispersing of shared data, accounts and things online in such a situation? Domains, hosting, email, sensitive data backups and social media are just a few examples."

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Blegh (4, Insightful)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065109)

You shouldn't have destroyed your individuality by combining all of these things. If you hadn't, maybe you wouldn't be getting divorced.

I'm only saying this so that others may learn from your mistake.

Re:Blegh (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065161)

Generally true, but things like data backups - that's a little trickier to keep separate. Otherwise the examples given are things that should remain separate (email accounts! Duh!!)

I'm confused about the backups. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065203)

Can't you simply make copies?

Re:Blegh (3, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065231)

Simple solution here is to have separate backup files of separate data. How hard is it to set the routine to make a backup of "robs documents" and another of "debs documents"?

Re:Blegh (5, Insightful)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065333)

This implies that your spouse is OK with the idea of making these backups in the case of potential divorce.

Implying that it could/might happen is dangerous, my friend.

Re:Blegh (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065423)

With as inexpensive as computers are these days, why is there need to share one computer with another person. The data is separate you take yours, and I keep mine.

Otherwise if OP is the one making the backups, then OP should be the one to keep them. Most likely it won't even be brought up in the papers, other than who gets the physical item.

Re:Blegh (0)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065465)

And all those family photos on the media server connected to the TV...?

Re:Blegh (2)

Arashi256 (1804688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065511)

Who bought and set up the media server? Because that's theirs. As for the photos - copies, duh.

Re:Blegh (2)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065719)

"theirs" doesn't quite exist so clear cut in a marriage. All property is up for grabs in a divorce proceeding.

Re:Blegh (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065513)

You make duplicate copies? Is it really that hard to figure out?

Re:Blegh (3, Interesting)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065681)

Do you both have rights to them? That's the whole point of the question: who "owns" the intentionally-shared "mutually"-created data?

Re:Blegh (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065543)

And all those family photos on the media server connected to the TV...?

Have you seriously never used a computer? ctrl+c, ctrl+v.

Re:Blegh (2)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065623)

Make copies. Just because it took you two years to realize you hate your spouse, doesn't mean you can't keep mementos of your shared experiences. How hard is it to burn a few DVD-Rs ?

Re:Blegh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065675)

And all those family photos on the media server connected to the TV...?

Duplicate the data, and buy a second server, either now or later. The expense of a couple of TB worth of storage is insignificant compared to all the other costs and problems associated with a divorce. Duplicate everything you've got and give a copy to each of you.

Things like domains and email addresses and stuff like that are more of a challenge. It is hard to figure out how to deal with "" when there is no longer a single Smith Family - if the kids are still at and should you retire their account at the same time as the parents?

At some level, these are the same problems one needs to deal with for phone numbers and mailing addresses, houses and vacation homes.

Re:Blegh (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065527)

There are plenty of reasons to have separate backups other than divorce, simple convenience for one. It is also possible to be married and still have some modicum of privacy. It wasn't a marriage, but might as well have been, but I was lived with someone for 8 years. We had a fileserver, it had 5 folders: shared, tom-shared, jen-shared, tom-private and jen-private. File permissions, audit logging, and the basic tenants of an adult relationship kept us from looking at things in the others "private" folder. Amusingly enough, about 6 years in, we realized we were wasting a lot of space in the private folders with duplication of the same porn, and thus \shared\porn was born, albeit with a fetish "whitelist", so there was still plenty of porn in the private folders.

As to the OPs question, it's too late to do anything about the way you backed up, if you're inextricably linked on backups, just make a copy of everything, each person gets one. I don't really get most of the rest of the question though. Did you have joint email and social media accounts? That was a shitty idea, but obviously neither of you should continue using them, since neither one of you is anymore. Copy the address book, contacts, pictures, etc, then close the accounts. If you actually had shared domains and hosting, those are definitively real assets with monetary value, and unfortunately their ownership is a matter for your lawyers to discuss.

Re:Blegh (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065703)

This implies that your spouse is OK with the idea of making these backups in the case of potential divorce.

Much like car crashes and earthquakes, I don't think most married couples want to plan for a divorce. Otherwise, everyone would have a pre-nap (which is a kind of divorce insurance).

Re:Blegh (2)

preaction (1526109) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065725)

My computers have user accounts for convenience: I use my computer differently from my SO and guests. These same computers automatically back up home directories to separate spots on the backup drive, because they're different folders. This is just basic home computer/network stuff, no ulterior "planning for never seeing these people ever again" crap.

Did you have a spouse who honestly thought that you were planning for a divorce by keeping separate backups? I use the past tense because it's very obvious that person was a control freak and hope that you are no longer married to that person.

Re:Blegh (1)

Lord Juan (1280214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065189)

Oh, and I just used my mod points =/
Seriously, why in the world would someone combine all that with a partner?

Re:Blegh (1)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065249)

Because you're both in all of those photos? Some of these things (like social media data) make sense. Others (like email)... not so much.

Re:Blegh (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065357)

Easy Enough.

Go to Photo Directory- Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C

Go to backup-harddrive Ctrl-V

Problem of who gets the photos/documents solved.

Re:Blegh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065655)

That works. However, a real geek would do:

robocopy /e /z c:\Users\username\Pictures e:\Pictures


cd ~/Pictures
tar cvf - . | ( cd /mnt/externaldisk/Pictures ; tar xvf -)

Photographer Copyright gets to choose. (1)

DaveSlash (1597297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065405)

I think however took the picture, holds the photo copyright. Therefore that person should decide if the photo can be shared as a copy. If a stranger on the street took the picture for you (and didn't run off with your camera, phew), then you could both have a copy.

Re:Photographer Copyright gets to choose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065619)

At least in Canada, the owner of the digital camera is the first owner of copyright, not the person holding the camera.

Re:Blegh (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065469)

If you share a social media site with your spouse then each take a copy of the data, and the page and account should be deleted as the entity that page was based on is no longer solvent.

Re:Blegh (4, Interesting)

owenferguson (521762) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065199)

I'd second that. My wife and I always had completely divided online personas, and still do. Shared assets like domains would be split based on the separation agreement, no? As for shared data, each party gets a full backup. Maybe change your passwords if you've shared them with your spouse. I know that I regretted telling my wife my email password when she started to use it as the password for other sites she signed me up for online (FetLife, for example.) We had a long talk that day about the importance of not re-using passwords on multiple sites; she was convinced that there was no way for website owners to see the passwords that their users put in. Thankfully, Lulzsec came along a few years later and vindicated my paranoia...

Re:Blegh (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065499)

Why lulzsec, just create a fresh pass of something md5'd then brute force it with cain show her how simple it is to recover.

Re:Blegh (5, Insightful)

owenferguson (521762) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065647)

Because I have other shit to do.

Re:Blegh (2)

owenferguson (521762) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065717)

And, furthermore, there's not really any way from the web-side to tell if the password is being encrypted or stored plaintext. Her position was that nobody would ever store a password file in plaintext, or set up their server in such a way as to make it possible for anyone to read the password file.

Re:Blegh (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065219)

One of the reasons for marriage, one of the pragmatic ones anyway, is being able to buy things and share them. This creates cost efficiencies. I mean even the RIAA and MPAA isn't going to sue for sharing with your wife.

Re:Blegh (5, Insightful)

foo1752 (555890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065273)

I mean even the RIAA and MPAA isn't going to sue for sharing with your wife.


Re:being able to buy things and share them (4, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065391)

Sorry, this is flawed in a lot of ways.

In a sense there is no economic advantage between just living together as lovers and being married. One funny example used to be that the standard deductions of one Head of Household and one Single, both triggering on lower overall brackets was cheaper than the married rate on combined income, and other tricks.

Then there's the very real cost of the alimony/child care process. Guy starts out with house, guy should end up with house. But watch the number of times she gets it.

Or the kids. Woman starts out poor, woman has a kid, woman divorces two years later, woman keeps kid, woman gets payments GREATER than they would have spent together on the kid being frugal.

Plus the copyright angle of making "full backups" of database based assets is hysterical.

Re:Blegh (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065393)

I missed "with" on the first read through.

Re:Blegh (0)

Grax (529699) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065229)

Why get married if you aren't planning to combine anything?

Re:Blegh (0)

LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065373)

Same reason you don't share the same ID with your spouse. Accounts identify YOU as a single person.

Are you really this ignorant, or are you just trolling?

Re:Blegh (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065559)

I imagine Grax also shares everything. One vehicle, one house/mailbox key. TV in the whole house. One job shared.

You are married, it doesn't mean you are no longer an individual. My wife and I share most things but there are things we don't share. She has her own car, it's in both our names, I never drive it, but it's hers, we both paid for it, but if it came to it I really wouldn't fight for it. She has her own computer as well. Hence her own accounts.

Re:Blegh (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065635)

Same reason you don't share the same ID with your spouse. Accounts identify YOU as a single person.

Are you really this ignorant, or are you just trolling?

It was about more than IDs. It included other data. It wouldn't be that crazy to have a shared domain with a spouse. Plenty of people have individual emails and joint emails. Why so grumpy?

Re:Blegh (4, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065267)

Bingo. The secret to long relationships is not being mingling everything.

I've been with the same woman since 1985. All we share is an Ebay account in my name, and if we part it will be immediately terminated.

I would keep personal copies of ALL data, then go "scorched earth" on everything else. Dump the domains and hosting, splatter formal divorce notices all over all social media in they way they are posted in newspapers (no emotion, just legal facts), and shut down/delete any joint activity. Close all joint accounts, change passwords where appropriate, and in general do "best practices" for employee termination.

  If there are large assets in play, see a lawyer.

Re:Blegh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065637)

Bingo. The secret to long relationships is not being mingling everything.

I've been with the same woman since 1985. All we share is an Ebay account in my name, and if we part it will be immediately terminated.

I beg to differ - I've been with my wife since 1990 and we share everything, and have since the start. We trust each other; our main machine has all our email accounts in one Thunderbird client. We've had combined accounts since we barely had enough money to justify any accounts at all ;)

Different strokes for different folks, is what I'm saying. This way works for us, your way works for you.

Re:Blegh (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065271)

I'm only saying this so that others may learn from your mistake.

So says Forever Alone guy! Yes, it's a mistake to trust anybody. By trust nobody you can ensure your heart remains perfectly safe and you, perfectly alone. This guy decided to take a risk, and yes, maybe in this one case it didn't work out for him, but at least he tries to have someone in his life who's last name isn't JPEG.

Re:Blegh (1)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065505)

Oooh I wish I had mod points. Made me laugh a bit too loud at work! :)

Re:Blegh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065551)

On the contrary, a good amount of women will divorce because they have found another guy who can give them a bigger ring or a 7 series instead of a 5 series BMW. Especially if the breadwinner gets a pink slip. This is often a hard learned lesson for most guys -- trust someone, then find out way too late that the spouse wasn't after one's heart, but just reaching past for the wallet.

For the OP: Lawyer up, and be ready for the fight of your life. It will get ugly, and she will find any way she can to twist the knife, including turning over any and all E-mail accounts she has to lawyers or even the police if it might help her case. However, if you don't dig in, you will find yourself with zero assets, and most of your income going to pay her alimony. You might find yourself in jail if she convinces the kids (if they are part of the family) to start lying in court.

Make sure you are the first to file the restraining order paperwork. Else, she will have the TRO, and she will follow you to every movie, sports event, convention, or whatever just to force you out of what you like, or even worse, she will run to a building's security and claim you are violating the TRO, just to see you go be dragged off.

Let the lawyers worry about the digital assets. That is what they are there for. Focus on cutting all connections to what is hers, and moving on.

Re:Blegh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065569)

I definitely wouldn't trust you.

Re:Blegh (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065583)

OMG. I fell out when I read that.

Re:Blegh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065303)

I do not know how to adequately handle the division of shared digital assets during a divorce, but I do know of a very effective, scientific, engineering-based approach to preventing divorce in the first place by building a good marriage: []

However, this approach advocates an interdependent lifestyle involving complete transparency and honesty. There are many who will say that that can't be done or won't work, but then, they rarely have the kind of success seen by this program.

Re:Blegh (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065321)

destroyed your individuality by combining all of these things

wtf does that even mean? in Australia at least, if you live with a woman for 6 months, she owns half your assets by default (unless you got a good lawyer or have a pre-nup).

In any case, its wrong to get married with the condition that you get to keep all your stuff if you divorce. Pre-nups are stupid; it's like saying "I love you dear, but I expect we'll get divorced someday".

If you get screwed in love and you lose out, the lessons are that love can sometimes hurt and that women are expensive. Duh!

Re:Blegh (2)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065447)

And I think the idea that a woman gets half your shit for hanging around for 6 months is stupid. Prenup is the only way to go if you have any assets at all.

Re:Blegh (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065677)

I agree that the 6 month thing is stupid, but I imagine if my spouse-to-be asked for a pre-nup, I'd be at least a little curious about their motive (maybe they don't trust me or love me as much as I thought). A pre-nup request doesn't seem like the best engagement present. I'm married and the risk of losing everything for loving my wife is one that I can live with quite easily. If things happen to turn sour (I don't expect them to, but for sake of argument), giving up my stuff and ongoing payment would be the cost of my mistake. I'm not worried, because my happiness now is worth the risk. People take risks every day, and many have the potential to cost you more than any divorce could (for example, if you drink drive there is a good chance you might kill someone, end up in jail and ruin your whole career/life, but that risk doesn't stop people from drink driving), and people cheat on their spouses knowing that they may be caught and ruin their marriage, but it doesn't stop them from cheating.

Re:Blegh (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065361)

A good compromise is coming to an agreement where both sides are unhappy.
Sell them to the highest bidder. Then split the money. If you can't sell it destroy it.

shared data: Delete it... Or make a duplicate copy of it...
accounts: Close them and make yourself new ones.
Domains: Sell it to the highest bidder and split the cash.
hosting: Copy the data split it if you can, make duplicate copies and delete the rest. Then cancel your hosting.
email: Shared Emails what are you some type of idiot... Well email everyone with your new email and cancel your old one.
sensitive data backups: Divide what is yours and what is hers. If you both need it you make a copy of it.
social media: change your relationship status.

Being however had asked such a stupid question I would expect what will happen is your ex will get it all. As you are either really dumb or gullible, to share such items... Or you are so dense that you can't realize that digital data can be copied.

However if you have any common sense you are going to remember to try to be fare with your divorce. If your not, you will be the bad guy.

Re:Blegh (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065375)

You shouldn't have destroyed your individuality by combining all of these things. If you hadn't, maybe you wouldn't be getting divorced.

Or at least they wouldn't be getting divorced this early. Had they not shared email or cell bills, someone might have gotten away with what ever they were up to for quite a bit longer.

But in other respects, you are spot on. If you can't trust a spouse to have a separate email, facebook, music, ebook, movie account then that person should probably not be a spouse in the first place.

Apart from sharing a cell account to get a substantially cheaper rate, other things like movie and ebook accounts are drop dead simple to acquire, and maintaining an existing account is hardly worth the effort.

Close them all. Just download all of your eBooks to your devices and computers for long term retention. Close all other accounts, and divide the memberships that have any accumulated value, but really these aren't worth messing with.

If these things are all there is to bicker about in a divorce, then count yourself lucky (for once) to be broke. If you had any joint assets of consequence, you wouldn't be worried about some ridiculous on-line accounts.

easy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065119)

burn it on a dvd and call it a day

Re:easy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065301)

This. Give him/her all of the old photos, videos, backups... all the old memories. You have a wonderful opportunity to leave all that crap behind you and get on with your life, unencumbered by bad memories of that filthy whore / cheating ratbag / . Leave it all behind, man.

Re:easy (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065707)

Yeah, really. I do not understand what the hell is so difficult about this. The media is trivial, everyone gets a copy, fucking done. The domain issue isn't even that complex...

It IS just 1's and 0's, after all. Copy, paste, than go get drunk and/or laid. Unless you're talking IP that is actually worth something, in which case, that's for your respective lawyers to scream at each other in a courtroom over.

Easy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065163)

Just hand over everything - she's going to get it all anyways, and if you offer it up, you might (less than 3.5% chance) avoid crippling monthly support payments to keep her in the lifestyle she has become accustomed to.
If, on the other hand, you are the woman in this story, sit back and relax, you have nothing to worry about.

Shared data (5, Funny)

xlsior (524145) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065167)

How have you dealt with dispersing of shared data

If only there were a way to make multiple copies of digital information...

Re:Shared data (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065291)

If only there were a way to make multiple copies of digital information and not get the pants sued off me.


Re:Shared data (1)

Drafell (1263712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065519)

Where are my mod points?!

Can you ascribe a monetary value to these assets (2)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065169)

If yes, just tell your lawyer that number. Don't have a lawyer? Stop wasting time asking the Internet for advice and get one.

Secondarily, do they sentimental value? Most courts are willing to take that into account as well.

Shared accounts?!? (2)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065175)

Shared accounts?!? I'm married, and as a principle, we have no shared accounts. All other data can be simply duplicated, as that is the nature of data. You have this problem because of sloppy identity management. Talk it over with the Ex, if that still is an option. As for domains and hosting, well, also a talking point, I'd say.

Re:Shared accounts?!? (2)

karnal (22275) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065371)

I had to combine my accounts when my wife lost her job years ago. Makes planning for the family much easier if one person has a hold of the purse strings, in my opinion.

Re:Shared accounts?!? (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065523)

But shared email accounts?
I use gmail my wife uses yahoo... And we really don't care what each other uses.
Because it is free email account.

Just been through this myself ... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065183)

Just been through this myself. My solution was to let her keep all the photographs, videos, accounts, etc etc. So I get a clean break, and no unwanted reminders in the future of a very dark period of my life. Seriously, you should at least consider the benefits of leaving it all behind, and letting the past stay in the past.

Wow. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065191)

That was the most round-about way ever of saying "My parents are throwing my 38 year old ass out of the basement."

Play nice (1)

Niris (1443675) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065209)

Work around it. If it's something you absolutely need for work and the like, you're just going to have to play nice and share. There's plenty of couples who still talk and get along better after divorce, so just avoid trying to absolutely screw each other over in the meantime. As for file based things that aren't account based, I'm sure you're already in the process of making copies.

Talk to your lawyer . . . (2)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065215)

Seriously, this is a terrible question for the /. community. You're going to get mocked, and maybe told that you shouldn't have married him/her/it if you didn't want to give him/her/it 51% of everything you own (round-up errors).

More seriously -- it's all about classifying property. Depending on state law, you may be able to retain individual ownership of some accounts / and anything business related, like a domain for a small business. Any interest you have in a company is likely to get split in half, if the company owns the digital assets then the ownership is derivative. If you have domain names you need for work, consider asking your spouse to consent to a flat evaluation at the price of registration -- create a corporation/LLC for your business identity and trasfer the assets out for good value.



Yeah... (2)

LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065227)

I'm not really trying to sound like an ass, but if you merged your email addresses, you're on your own.

Foresight. Use it.

Re:Yeah... (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065453)

foresight is great in hindsight

Re:Yeah... (1)

LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065577)

Cute, but it still doesn't make sense to not think about things like this.

You'll have to wait for the ReDigi case (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065253)

You'll have to wait for the Redigi case to play out. If the courts decide that downloaded music can't be sold used, they might also evaporate in a divorce. One downloaded song certainly can't be used by both parties after they separate.

Splitting assets sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065255)

Create separate accounts to replace the shared social network accounts and separately contact other people.

Take all backup data you each get a copy (and close old backup accounts), so each person can keep the things he/she wants. This is way easier since it's digital.

Register new domains / hosting and set up forwarding for email, temporarily keeping the old accounts open for a few months. Let one person pay the other for any domains that you both want to keep instead of letting them lapse. Nothing is priceless.

This is an easier situation than the non-digital equivalent, so I don't understand the difficulty.

Most Shared? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065269)

Is most of that really shared? I guess having a shared email account makes a kind of sense, but not really.
If you have a combined email account/Facebook account you cannot really just have one person take over the use of them. I think your divorce has rendered such things as worthless.
Other things on that list come off as something you can continue to share.

But at the end of the day it is all a case by case scenario. What are you expecting? /. to come out and say: "ah, Domains, well obviously those always go to the husband, but the wife gets the email"???

Interesting question .... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065287)

I went through a (by all counts HORRIBLY messy) divorce myself, some years ago. But at that time, despite both of us being avid "computer people", there was no such thing as "social networking" websites or "cloud storage".

I'm not even sure there was much in the way of "digital data" we felt we needed to divvy up?

As I think about this now, though, I think it does make yet one more strong argument against DRM. It would have been a much bigger hassle if all of my purchased music, video content, or even digitally downloaded software titles were authorized for her use (and vice-versa), and then we had to concern ourselves with how that would be handled after going our separate ways. In our situation, there were a few instances where she had a user account for a paid MMORPG game or what-not, and I simply let her keep it, while cancelling any credit card attached to it for billing purposes. That made it her problem to pay for it herself, moving forward, or just opting to let the account go.

I don't know how amicable your particular divorce is, but I can tell you this much: In the long run, it'll make things go much more smoothly for both parties if you do the "right thing" in such situations as perhaps having a Dropbox account with some of HER data trapped in it. Back it up onto DVD-R or CD-R for her and give her those backups of her share of the content. Don't just wipe it, no matter how satisfying that idea is at the time. It's not worth starting an escalating battle over it, where she may well be able to delete some of YOUR info you're not even thinking about right now....

Re:Interesting question .... (2)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065381)

And don't forget the reason that divorce costs so much....because it's totally worth it.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065297)

Wife took the whole damn planet in the divorce...

Problem SOLVED (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065379)

Just put all the spouse's stuff on the Internet, and that way they can get to it anywhere they are. They''ll thank you for that!

From my experience (1)

monroed (2574839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065385)

As a person that has been divorced and lost everything in the process, I can tell you this will not end well.

Sounds like a Dick van Dyke joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065413)

"I just heard about the settlement negotiated by my attorney.
My gets the car, I get the car payment book.
She gets our two houses in real life, I get the ones in Second Life.
She gets the garden, I get the Farmville properties..."

Some (possibly obvious) points for you to consider (5, Insightful)

Fubari (196373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065425)

Some (possibly obvious) points for you to consider:
If the "digitial assets" have significant monetary value: ask your lawyer. (the "digital assets" probably have low monetary value, or you wouldn't be asking about them here.)
If the "digitial assets" have significant sentimental value: burn yourself a copy, hand them over to your future-ex, and sincerely say "Thank you for the wonderful memories."

(Just out of curiosity on my part, what kind of advice did you expect to get without actually describing the nature and value of the "digital assets"?)

Lastly, consider this: how important is it for you to win?
Divorces can be ugly. I've seen friends destroy each others sanity and inflict long-term damage on their souls in order to "win" and "be right"
Five years from now, would you rather be busy enjoying a new chapter in your life or sipping daily from a nasty glass of old & bitter resentments?

Re:Some (possibly obvious) points for you to consi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065611)

Is the correct answer

Re:Some (possibly obvious) points for you to consi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065687)

This is the most important thing: if you don't have to 'win', you'll probably be much happier in the long run. Divorced twice and just happy to have avoided war and lawyers both times. "Got" much less than 50%, but using lawyers to fight it would have cost even more.

Consider blackmail value, too (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065705)

It might be worth just deleting the whole sorry mess. That way no compromising photos (or either party) can find their way onto a social website. The question then becomes: who trusts who to delete everything and not keep a copy for themselves.

scorched earth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065431)

toss the server in the bath tub

They go to the technical one (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065479)

Unlike all other assets, which she gets... technical assets go to the one who can manage them, which is usually you. Otherwise, you can try to divide them down the middle, or to something you agree on. Good luck with that.

In which way would John Kerry lead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065497)

John Kerry, whichever way the wind blows.

How do you split future revenue from IP? (2)

swframe (646356) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065501)

I always wanted to know how to divide future revenue (after the divorce) for IP that was started but not completed before the divorce. I had thought to just give each party a copy of the IP to finish as they see fit. The alternative is that one party finishes the work and the other party reaps the benefits. This later case seems unfair.

Where this will hurt is Steam.... (2)

manonthemoon (537690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065507)

when my 12 yr old grows up and moves out a lot of the games, but not all, were bought more for his benefit. I don't mind getting logged out occasionally now since he'll generally ask since he's in the house anyway. But when he moves out and 1/2 way across the country, potentially, co-ordinating the use of a single account will be a pain. I'll probably have to create a 2nd account for my exclusive use, since most of the money is tied up in his games...

Re:Where this will hurt is Steam.... (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065693)

Might wanna start that now. Seriously, if it's "mostly his games anyway", why not make a separate one for you ?

What's the problem? (2)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065529)

Domains - the name listed in whois is the owner of record.

Hosting - the name listed on the account. The other party should get their own hosting account (any pre-paid hosting should be pro-rated at 50% to the other party).

email -for each PAID email account, the name listed on the account is the owner. For freemail accounts, you don't "own" them anyway, so each of you just get a new account already - it's not like it costs anything - then set the auto-responder in the freemail account to give both your new email addresses, then give the account login info to someone in trust who will change the secondary contact info and login to something random. Or give it to the kids (if any).

data - you each own your own data, as per copyright. Whoever created the original data, they own the rights to the backups as well. Be nice - share anything that the other person is in, such as pictures, since they also have a right to those. Exceptions: "intimate" pictures - give them to the person who is in the picture and destroy any other copies - don't you even think of "sharing" those without permission, and you'll end up with a police record, same as Libby [last name redacted]'s ex boyfriend did when he "shared them" with her parents, grandparents, etc.

social media - why is this a problem? Social media accounts are not "property" and you do not "own" them, as per your contract with whatever provider you're using. If this is about a "family" account, each of you create an account under your own name, post a note on the family account pointing to the new accounts, then as part of the agreement the family account is either nuked, or given to a 3rd party in trust who changes the contact information and password, then deactivates it.

It's a divorce - the two biggest words are move on. None of the stuff listed above is worth fighting over 99.999% of the time.

Digital Data (1)

AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065553)

Give it all the shared stuff to her and get on with your life, trust me you will all be happier.

Simple... (1)

ABadDog (28370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065557)

just give her every other byte.

Re:Simple... (5, Funny)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065599)

You get all the 1's - she gets all the 0's

Re:Simple... (1)

ABadDog (28370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065649)

But she insists on having the 1's...

Split it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065563)

Assets that can not be shared, split them. ie ebay accounts etc.
Or develop an ongoing share relationship for a fixed period of time.
Assets that can be duplicated, duplicate (photos)
Private information you don't want shared, only let the owner keep a copy.

The only big issue I see is intermingled backups.
If you have no trust, it's messy, otherwise separate and backup your data now, and destroy the comingled backups. or set a date for their future destruction.

If it's a messy divorce, you're screwed.

call me traditional (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065609)

but why would want to own a shared facebook account after a divorce? Wouldn't it be more prudent for each of you to have your own account afterwards? "Digital assets" per se are information. Why would either of you want a constant reminder of a failed marriage while you go through routine tasks of checking email, updating facebook status (I am told that's a thing -- don't know myself), and so on and so forth?

Give her what she wants now (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065621)

Judges always sympathize for women. Must be all that crying they do.

DRM people (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065629)

Most of the posts talk about copies and burning discs. This might not be possible. For example, what if they bought videos on iTunes or Amazon? You might not think that's a lot of money but some people have significant collections. I have 783GB of content from iTunes. In my case, my wife and I figured out that we needed different iTunes accounts about 6 months in. Still, it's not like splitting a DVD or Blu-ray collection.

I think the first step is talking with the content provider and see if they'll do anything for you. I'd guess not. If you can't split it, do as others suggest and talk about it with a lawyer.

Same as with kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39065653)

How do you divide up digital assets in a divorce you say? Well, it's the same as you do with kids in a divorce.. Split right down the middle, with a chainsaw.

The Adjuster (1)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065669)

I could never figure out why all the websites sprouted "share" buttons. At first I could only vaguely guess what that meant. Promote? Draw attention to? Provide testimonial? Spam your nearest and dearest?

Finally I figured out that the root system for the word "share" is the soil of quasi-victimless theft. We don't really care when we lend a book to a friend that the author gains no recompense in tangible currency, since the author is almost certainly being screwed by the publisher anyway, and who wants to support that? And peer-to-peer is giving it to the man in general (which I say not entirely facetiously).

A better word than "share" might have been "perkolate". African dictators also like to distribute the goodies within their close circles of cronies. We are all alike, at heart. Now the sharing generation has no idea what an asset actually looks like and can't figure out how to draw the knife. My confusion about the word "share" was thinking it made some kind of deeper logical sense to anyone else. No, it was just a term to fudge matters all along.

So what is the problem here? There are possessions that can be either cloned (photographs) or partitioned (the $300 bottle of balsamic vinegar). For everything else, you negotiate, then sign a settlement contract. Or is the question about how to navigate these dark waters without disturbing your fudgy new-age embrace of neo-communism? If your needs go way beyond what is codified by law, you could always hire The Adjuster [] .

The fire scene is where her husband, Noah (Elias Koteas), the insurance adjuster of the title, comforts a new client in a manner that is not entirely reassuring. As Noah is fond of saying, "You may not feel it, but you're in a state of shock." [Noah is] "just sorting things out, deciding what has value and what doesn't." Hera [his wife, the censor] replies: "I know what you mean. It's the same thing I do."

The movie seems to turn (if one can hazard a guess) on the notion that material division tends to be far from the central matter.

Don't share anything (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065711)

I found early on that sharing digital assets was a mistake, and ended up opting out of all of our shared accounts and creating my own digital presence. I lost some money and resources on the short term (having to abandon accounts that contained money that was mostly mine) but it worked out in the long run. In the unlikely event that we separate, I have sole access to my digital presence and have no interest in hers. (Lawyers might decide differently, but that's always a risk in divorce.)

Maintaining separate identities has the added benefit that it minimizes the damage when one spouse has trouble controlling spending. When it was "our" money, it was my fault when we ran out. But when she only had direct access to her own money, she had to reluctantly learn some self control.

It's not very romantic, but one does what one must to keep a household functioning.

And what about other stuff? (1)

UninformedCoward (1738488) | more than 2 years ago | (#39065731)

Domains, hosting, email, sensitive data backups and social media are all good examples but what about the really important stuff. How do you plan on splitting all that World of Warcraft gold?

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