Bitcoins: a rock for assets to hide under in the divorce process?

Perhaps you’ve heard the term “bitcoin” in recent months. Perhaps you even tried paying close attention to one or more discussions centered on what bitcoins are, why they may be important and the role they could play in global economics in the future. Perhaps you even own some bitcoins.

Then again, none of the above might be true as applies to you. Myriad media stories that have emerged over the past couple years indicate that many people are simply baffled by the term and what it entails.

Indeed, it is difficult to succinctly explain. For purposes of this post, it might simply suffice to note that bitcoins are real money, but only in a digital universe. That is, they are electronic currency.

A hallmark of bitcoins is that they provide for relative anonymity among users and can be hard to trace. Who owns bitcoins, and how many, is something that is not easily tracked.

Such things might need to be more closely looked at in the future. To pardon a pun, bitcoins are gaining currency across the globe, with some prognosticators saying that they could emerge in the future as a widespread and viable source of transferable wealth.

As such, they could play a factor in some divorce proceedings, especially where property division is an important element. Given the somewhat esoteric, anonymous and elusive nature of bitcoins, they would seem to be highly suitable assets for some divorcing parties in Georgia and elsewhere to amass and then seek to hide during the divorce process. It is one thing to locate savings sought to be sheltered by a soon-to-be former spouse in an offshore bank. With bitcoins, though, there is likely to be no individual name associated with the currency, and no particular institution holding it.

High technology is intersecting in many meaningful ways with family law, as evidenced by Facebook, cellphone use and Twitter accounts. In the future, bitcoins could be added to the mix.

Source: CNBC, “Bitcoin could be used to hide assets in divorces, warn lawyers,” Jane Croft, June 3, 2014

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