Bitcoin seems like it would be a marital asset like any other. But across the nation, Bitcoin is creating real challenges for us family lawyers.
There are no laws on the books which specifically address Bitcoin and divorce in our state. But divorcing couples certainly recognize the need to watch this asset. Right now, overseas, one couple is fighting over $830,000 of cryptocurrency. People have sunk some serious wealth into this virtual coin. And if some divorce lawyers hope Bitcoin is a passing fad, the truth is these cryptocurrencies are probably here to stay.
Beware: Bitcoin is a popular choice for hiding assets.
One of the biggest problems with Bitcoin is it makes it easy to hide assets. Wallets transferred onto USB cards can be difficult to track. Cryptocurrency can move all over the world.
Fortunately, there are some remedies.
First, there are now some forensic specialists who focus exclusively on finding hidden assets in Bitcoin. In addition, much like the IRS has already done, it is possible to subpoena information from the exchanges. At some point someone had to buy the bitcoin in regular currency, and a record of that transaction does exist, no matter how many anonymous transfers follow.
Bitcoin creates real valuation problems.
Another problem with Bitcoin is its wildly fluctuating value. There was one two month period where one coin went from $6000 in value to $20,000 in value. This can make the equitable distribution of property a little difficult to ascertain, even when everyone is on the up and up.
After all, “equitable” rarely means 50/5o, so it’s not always possible, or advisable, to split the bitcoin in half and call it a day.
It can be hard to enforce court orders involving Bitcoin.
When Bitcoin moves all over the world it can be hard to compel it back into the hands of the spouse who is entitled to it via court order.
Indeed, right now the law is even struggling to understand what Bitcoin is, let alone figure out how to handle it. It’s not like a child support amount, which can be pulled right out of the bank account of someone who owns it.
Just another reason why a modern divorce needs great counsel.
There are a myriad of ways Bitcoin could be handled in a divorce settlement, which means you’ll require help even if the spouse with the Bitcoin is on the up-and-up and doesn’t try to hide anything. The modern divorce, like the modern marriage, is full of weird technology-created issues just like this one.
You need to put an experienced divorce lawyer on your side so you can give yourself the best shot at a good outcome. Contact the law offices of Sadek and Cooper today to start your divorce off on the right foot.