At the beginning of 2017, the digital currency Bitcoin was selling for less than $1,000. Today, as this is being written, one Bitcoin is going for more than $16,000. Earlier this month, it topped $18,000. The year-long surge in value has attracted attention for the cryptocurrency and its possible uses.
One possible application: Hiding money during a divorce. A recent news media report indicates that “a subset of so-called men’s rights activists have advocated pouring money into Bitcoin, to hide it during divorce proceedings.”
A New York family law attorney quoted in the Daily Beast article said, “I have a feeling it’s not going to be too long before I get one of these cases.” He noted that the way the cryptocurrency is structured (it exists entirely in digital form), “it’s very easy to conceal.”
A 2015 article in a North Carolina law journal stated that the digital currency’s anonymity “makes hiding marital assets easier for spouses.”
Of course, with increased awareness of the cryptocurrency’s value and the ease with which it can be hidden, there will be increased scrutiny by attorneys and courts in cases in which it’s suspected that assets might be stashed away.
It should be noted that hiding assets in divorce is unethical and against the law. It can also result in painful financial penalties.
In complex divorces involving businesses or the possibility of hidden assets, an experienced family law attorney will use forensic accountants and other financial pros to sort through assets and debts. In that way, a detailed analysis of a couple’s true financial worth can be generated and used to make property division and spousal support (alimony) determinations.
Contact The Siemon Law Firm to discuss concerns and priorities in your divorce.