Who gets the frequent flier bonus miles in a divorce? | Lane & Lane, LLC
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Who gets the frequent flier bonus miles in a divorce?

When it comes to marital property many people may not realize that it includes everything earned or acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This covers several areas not normally considered, including a spouse's accumulated frequent flier miles. These would be included as marital assets subject to division under the divorce laws of New Jersey and most if not all other states.

Even if you are getting a no-fault divorce, property division must first be resolved between the parties. So the question arises, who gets the frequent flier miles? That question is only slightly tongue-in-cheek. The fact is that some people have accumulated miles representing potential travel that could cost several thousands of dollars. However, reducing these miles, or points, into an equivalent in dollars for property division in a divorce is sometimes an elusive exercise.

When the vendor puts a cash value to the points, the parties to the divorce are usually satisfied with that figure. However, the value is not always provided, which puts things into the next best option, which is to trade, barter or otherwise distribute the miles themselves between the parties. If a generous spouse wishes to send the other spouse and children on a last vacation using the miles, the problem is solved.

Of course, finding such generosity in the midst of a stressful divorce is not always possible. One solution is to get the airlines or vendor to divide the account and the miles into two separate accounts. However, as you've possibly already guessed, these companies are not often that accommodating. When that's not possible, one spouse will have to hold the points and turn them over to the other spouse, or purchase tickets or rooms for the other, when he or she is ready to travel.

Getting a divorce involves many intricate questions, including what is described above. In New Jersey as well as anywhere else, you should be prepared with detailed information and documentation regarding the financial issues that may come up. When you obtain counsel, he or she will want to go over that material with you in order to best evaluate and discuss with you all of your rights and options.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Air Wars," Stann Givens, April 27, 2013

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