You may have tuned out your spouse whenever they started talking about their bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. As long as they weren’t raiding your joint bank accounts or your kids’ college funds to buy large amounts of it, you really didn’t care.
Now that you’re divorcing, you’re wondering just how much that cryptocurrency is worth, whether you’re entitled to half of it under California’s community property laws and – most importantly – whether you’ll even be able to prove that your spouse has it.
The new battleground in asset division
Cryptocurrency is a digital, encrypted currency that exists online without names or account numbers attached to it. It’s become a new battleground in many divorces. Depending on when someone bought it and how much it’s presently worth, they could be sitting on many thousands of dollars — or much more.
You and your spouse are both required to list all of your assets and debts before you start working out the property division. But what if your spouse claims they were just talking and never bought it or they sold what little they had?
Can you prove otherwise?
You may need to bring in an expert like a forensic accountant to locate the cryptocurrency. As one of these professionals explains, they may be able to use bank account transaction histories to determine whether their transactions were made on crypto-trading platforms.
Moving money like this, however, would be a rookie mistake. As the accountant notes, “It’s really hard to trace if the individual knows what they’re doing. An expert is going to know not to leave any evidence on their computer, and it can be much more difficult to subpoena.”
Cryptocurrency is anticipated to become one of the key ways for wealthy people to hide significant assets in divorce. However, if you don’t think your spouse’s cryptocurrency – if they even have any – is worth enough to bring in financial professionals to hunt down, you may want to put your focus on the assets you can prove are there.
Talk with your family law attorney about any assets you believe your spouse may be hiding or undervaluing. You need to know what you have a right to share.