While fighting over air miles may seem trivial, this type of asset and other reward program points can add up to substantial amounts. When going through a divorce, a New York couple must reach a property division settlement that divides the marital assets between them. This settlement may take reward points into consideration.
One way to handle reward points is to ask the company to split up these points evenly into two separate accounts. This way, each spouse will have half of the total rewards that they have accumulated together. However, the company may charge certain fees or cash in some of the points in order to create this transfer. If this occurs, the fees should be split equally or fairly in another manner. However, some rewards programs do not allow one spouse to transfer the rewards to another spouse. The terms and conditions of the rewards program will determine whether the points can be shared or transferred.
Another option is to derive a value for the points and compensate the spouse who will not receive the points with another asset of similar value. Some rewards programs list an equivalent cash value for a certain number of points, and couples can use these figures to determine the value of the points. Converting points for a value may be necessary if a rewards program does not provide a cash equivalent. For example, if 40,000 miles can be redeemed for a first class ticket that is otherwise worth $1,400, a spouse can ask for an asset worth $1,400 to compensate for his or her share of the points.
Dividing property during a divorce can be a long and messy process. New York family law attorneys may be able to help divorcing couples to come to a settlement regarding their property. They may also help with seeking or modifying orders for alimony.
Source: Forbes, "Divorce: Who Gets The Air Miles?", Jeff Landers, June 26, 2013