Could your spouse be hiding digital assets in your divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2022 | Property Division

If you are going through a divorce, you want to walk away from your marriage with sufficient assets to begin life anew. Washington’s community property laws state that all assets acquired during a marriage are subject to division in a divorce. But it only works when both spouses are playing fair with the marital assets.

The rise in popularity of cryptocurrency has created a way for dishonest spouses to stash marital funds in digital assets without their spouse’s knowledge. Below is some critical information about identifying any cryptocurrency acquisitions during your marriage.

Determine whether digital assets are part of the marital property

You may already know that your spouse purchased some Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. But they may have easily continued those purchases without your knowledge in anticipation of the divorce. You can’t divide what you cannot identify, so this is your first hurdle.

The acquisition process for cryptocurrency involves complex and anonymous blockchain transactions made and tracked using a digital wallet with both private and public keys. Because these assets are intangible and incredibly volatile to market fluctuations, tracking and identifying them is best left up to cryptocurrency forensic accountants.

These forensic experts don’t come cheap, however. If you suspect that your future ex was just dabbling in cryptocurrency acquisition and trading and may only own $10K or less in digital assets, you may want to pick another battle. Tracing it back to them could cost as much or more than they possess.

Remember that there are many ways to buy cryptocurrency

If your spouse is an independent contractor or consultant, they may arrange to be paid in the cryptocurrency of their choice. They may be selling off valuable marital assets to buy cryptocurrencies on an exchange or through a broker or even a friend. If there is a significant investment out there, it could be well worth your while to dig deeper.

Understand your position as you move forward

If you know or suspect that marital assets were converted into cryptocurrency, it’s vital to alert your family law attorney of this development. They can use this information to help ensure you receive a fair share of your marital property.