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2011: Divorce and Frequent Flyer Miles

In San Diego, many spouses have frequent flyer miles on their credit cards which were accumulate from date of marriage to date of separation. Whether your case is a divorce or legal separation, the issue of frequent flyer miles in San Diego legal separation or divorce cases arises. In San Diego, the division of this community property asset is part of the divorce or legal separation. These frequent flyer miles can add up to free travel and, now, can be redeemed for many other benefits including long distance telephone calls, renting a car, staying in a hotel and many others. In our office, we accept credit cards and even paying their attorney fees with the miles credit card can earn frequent flyer miles. Most flights are out of Lindbergh Field in downtown San Diego but there are also airports in other parts of San Diego County.

The first issue is how many frequent flyer miles were accumulated from the date of marriage through the date of separation? If these are under twenty five thousand frequent flyer miles, then they may not have significant community property value. If there are hundreds of thousands [or even millions of miles], then these can have significant community property value.

The second issue is whether the miles themselves are divisible? The only way to ascertain this is to contact the airlines directly since each airline has its own policy. If the miles are divisible, then each spouse can take one half of the community property miles. If the miles are not divisible, then the miles will have to be valued and an offsetting equalization made. It may also be possible for the holder of the miles to have a ticket issues in the name of the spouse. If this is possible, then the miles redeemed for the spouse’s ticket can be offset against the remaining amount of miles.

The third issue is whether the miles expire and when. If the miles have no expiration date, then this assists with the time needed to accomplish the division. If the miles have an expiration date, then this would need to be accomplished within this time frame.

If there is a travel order for custody and/or visitation, then it is possible to use the frequent flyer miles for the costs of this and then offset from the division of the community property. If you have any questions regarding divorce, paternity, nullity or legal separation, please feel free to contact us for a confidential consultation.

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