The Law Offices of Van A. Schwab
Skokie and Libertyville

Frequent flier miles may be up for grabs during divorce process

Illinois couples who are going through a divorce may know that the process can be quite complex, particularly when it comes to sometimes contentious issues like the division of assets. If couples are facing a high asset divorce, however, the division of assets could become even more complicated. Any marital asset could be at stake, including real estate property, collectibles, art and even frequent flier miles.

While it may seem strange that couples would argue over frequent flier miles and other reward points, these do count as marital assets. If a couple has traveled extensively throughout their marriage, hundreds of thousands of frequent flier miles may be accumulated. These rewards could be used as an alternative to purchasing expensive plane tickets and allow the individual who is awarded with them to travel comfortably.

In many cases, rewards are not transferable to a spouse when the couple splits. Instead of spending the finances to obtain a court order to transfer them, it may simply be easier to assign a monetary value to the points and award the other individual with something of equal value.

Estimating the value of the reward points can be difficult. The value of the points may fluctuate depending on the time of year. The monetary value assigned to the points should be reasonable and defendable. Alternatively, if the rewards program allows it, the points can be split equally between the two spouses.

An experienced family law attorney may be able to help divorcing couples reach a positive resolution and separate assets that are difficult to quantify, such as air miles, in a practical and equitable manner. Regardless of whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, the attorney may be able to make sure that clients are receiving what they deserve from the marriage by evaluating the monetary value of all property, including frequent flier miles and reward points.

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

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