Cryptocurrencies may complicate property division in divorce

New York residents who are approaching or going through divorce often have questions about how property is divided. The property division process is one of the most important parts of a divorce, and it can be difficult with certain types of assets. Indeed, during the period prior to divorce, individuals often have time to hide assets. As Bitcoin grows in the public consciousness, cryptocurrency issues are becoming more prominent in divorce.

For couples who own Bitcoin, Litecoin or Ethereum, dividing the assets during divorce should be a simple matter. In a bull market, however, the prospect of dividing cryptocurrency may cause some individuals to balk. One spouse may not want to assume the risk of a crash and might want different assets instead of cryptocurrency. Likewise, a husband or wife who has been investing in Bitcoin for years may wish to value the asset based on its purchase price rather than its current value. In a situation where one spouse offers a choice between a lump sum payment or 10 percent of the gains over the course of five years, the other spouse may have a difficult decision.

Additionally, there have been cases in which one spouse has used cryptocurrency to squirrel away other assets prior to divorce. In situations like that, it may be difficult to prove the spouse still has the money and has not gambled it away on Bitcoin or otherwise lost it speculating.

In a case where one spouse suspects the other has attempted to hide assets prior to divorce, a lawyer could provide legal assistance. An attorney with experience in divorce law might be able to secure evidence of the existence of assets or assist during property settlement negotiations. Counsel might draft and file the petition for divorce or argue on behalf of the client during legal proceedings.

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