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Splitting air miles in a divorce

Negotiating which spouse gets what of the savings, cash, real estate and investments accumulated during a marriage is one of the most important things people deal with in a divorce. Many times, property division involves other items such as art, a wine collection or other assets that the couple has accumulated. However, other property such as air miles can lead to disagreements. It's important to understand how property like frequent flyer miles can impact a divorce.

Rewards points earned from travel or credit card purchases can end up being worth a great deal of money. This is especially true if either or both spouses travel often. If the points or miles have built up enough before either spouse has had a chance to enjoy them, tensions can arise when either spouse considers losing them. However, taking a step back and examining the situation can lead a resolution acceptable to both parties.

While some rewards programs may allow the couple to split the points or miles, some may not allow the couple to transfer their points in a divorce. Instead, it might be better to assign a monetary value to the points and negotiate to get something of equal value back in the divorce. If taking this course of action, it is important to do some research and come up with a reasonable monetary value for the points.

When considering things like frequent flyer miles that people become emotionally attached to, it's important to consider what they are actually worth. In many cases, it could be a wiser move financially to let a spouse take the miles and make a better deal elsewhere. Because seemingly trivial issues such as rewards points can become major sticking points in a divorce, a lawyer may be able to help advise those currently going through a divorce which assets may be more important in long run.

Source: Forbes, "Divorce: Who Gets The Air Miles?", Jeff Landers, June 26, 2013