Photo of Jeanne M. Frazee

The Experience To Protect Your Rights

Photo of Jeanne M. Frazee

The Experience To Protect Your Rights

Who keeps frequent flyer miles in a Michigan divorce?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Marital Property Division |

The longer a Michigan marriage lasts and the more successful the spouses are during that marriage, the more property division matters they have to negotiate if they decide to divorce. Those with complex marital estates often find that they have many assets to address when dividing their property, some of which can be more difficult to address than others.

If the spouses regularly travel together for pleasure or one spouse travels frequently for work, there could be a significant number of frequent flyer miles accrued on accounts with different airlines. Those miles count toward free flights in the future. Who typically gets to keep frequent flyer miles when spouses divorce in Michigan?

Those miles could be marital property

The marital estate does not just consist of assets that the spouses purchased together or the debts that they took out through mutual agreement during the marriage. All income and assets acquired during marriage could potentially be part of the marital estate unless the spouses have an agreement stating otherwise. Even assets or debts in the name of one spouse may be part of the marital estate.

Frequent flyer miles could be worth hundreds of dollars or possibly more depending on how long spouses have accrued them. Their value might drop if the spouses decide to divide the accrued miles between two accounts. Airlines sometimes impose a fee for transferring a balance between two accounts.

In many cases, it may make more sense for the spouses to determine the value of those frequent flyer miles and then offset that value with other assets to avoid dividing the account. A similar approach could work for those with valuable credit card rewards that may need to factor into their property division settlements.

Equitable distribution rules do not necessarily require the division of each individual asset but rather a fair outcome when looking at the totality of the marital estate. Spouses can be as creative as they need to be when finding solutions for how to divide their marital assets.

Performing a very thorough review of the marital estate is the only way to ensure that spouses can fairly divide what they have acquired together. Those who understand Michigan’s approach to the equitable distribution of marital property can use that information to their benefit during a Michigan divorce.