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Who gets possession of air mile rewards after divorce?

Arriving at a divorce settlement agreement can be a difficult process. Navigating the tricky issues of jointly-owned homes, stocks, bonds and cash is hard enough by itself. When added to the division of invaluable items such as art collections and antiques, the process can become very difficult. Illinois couples reaching a property division compromise that is agreeable to both parties can become especially frustrating. With serious issues such as child custody and the impending change in lifestyles, the added burden of determining the correct method for dividing frequent flyer mileage and other rewards often pales in comparison.

How does one correctly divide air miles and other rewards points? Not all rewards point programs operate under the same set of rules. Some companies allow the rewards to be split, while others do not. Marriott’s program, for example, specifically states that reward points are not transferable to a spouse as part of a divorce settlement.

Rather than attempt to fight this type of policy, most people consider assigning a mutually agreeable monetary value to the reward. They then enter that monetary value into the overall settlement equation.

Other programs provide a cash-equivalent value to their rewards or allow a division into two separate accounts. It’s important to remember that points and miles won’t hold their value forever. It may be a wise decision to convert them into their monetary equivalent before they could potentially lessen in value. It is with situations like these that a family law attorney experienced in property division issues may be able to help. A competent attorney may be able to create a method for determining value that both parties could find acceptable.

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

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