Divorce in and of itself is a challenging and often tumultuous process. If your spouse owns cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, tracking and valuing the digital currency can further complicate the process.
Cryptocurrencies are unlike traditional currencies because they operate on a decentralized system. There is no central bank, government, or regulatory authority backing the asset. Given its decentralized nature, it can be used to hide marital assets. You may not know if your spouse owns cryptocurrency.
Despite its complex nature, cryptocurrency obtained during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution in divorce just like any other asset. Therefore, if either spouse owns cryptocurrency obtained during the marriage, they must disclose the asset to the other spouse during divorce proceedings. Disclosed cryptocurrency will be valued and then divided as part of the property division entered by the court.
Given the volatile nature of cryptocurrency, the valuation date of the asset is incredibly important. The valuation date can be when the movant spouse filed the divorce petition, a date set by the court, the date the parties sign settlement documents, the date the Bitcoins are distributed, or any other date considering the circumstances.
Issues of cryptocurrency and divorce can be complicated, and it is best to discuss the particular facts of your situation with a licensed attorney to discover your options.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.