Are Work Benefits & Frequent Flyer Miles Marital Property?
Yes, all property acquired during marriage is presumed to be community property. If you acquired something during marriage by gift or inheritance, that can be set aside to you as your separate property, but it will be up to you to prove (by clear and convincing evidence) that the asset in dispute was in fact a gift or inheritance.
Everything earned during marriage as a result of employment is marital property, and subject to division is community property, even if it has not yet been received. Perhaps you receive an annual bonus which is not paid until after divorce, it will be community property to the extent it relates to income earned during marriage. Similarly, retirement plan accounts and benefits are divisible to the extent acquired during marriage, as are stock options, stock grants and all other forms of compensation for work done during marriage.
This same principle applies to all intellectual property, such as inventions, manuscripts, publications, deferred income plans, and so on, to the extent they are partially or entirely attributable to the time frame of the marriage.
Frequent flyer miles and all other credit card benefits are also marital property to the extent they accumulated during marriage and should be divided at time of divorce. Your spouse may be entitled to one-half of the value of your unused vacation time and frequent flyer miles. Interest on accounts which accrued during marriage, but may not be paid until after divorce, is also community property, such as interest on a certificate of deposit which pays interest once a year, or bond interest coupons, and the like.
Michael R. Puhl