Cryptocurrency – Finding It And Dividing It In A Divorce
Cryptocurrency is more than the just the latest trend to invest in (or not). It is also being used by soon-to-be former spouses to hide assets during a complex financial divorce. Crypto is tricky because it can be hard to locate, as it doesn’t really exist on a physical level. You can’t hold crypto in your hand like you can a dollar bill. This form of currency also doesn’t use standard banks and related bank accounts and is not subject to the same regulations and protections, making it tough to find.
Thankfully, at Buckhead Family Law, we are knowledgeable about the things that can be done to locate and determine how much crypto a divorcing spouse possesses and where it’s hidden.
Cryptocurrency is easy to move around. All that it takes to change standard money into crypto is going through an online exchange. A few keystrokes and the money is now in Bitcoin or whichever form of cryptocurrency that’s chosen. These exchanges are usually highly encrypted, making it tough to both get into the exchange to see how much cryptocurrency is owned, but also to prove without a doubt who owns it.
Thankfully, the cryptocurrency blockchain records everything. While you may not be able to tell outright who owns the currency, through careful tracing of the records, you may be able to determine this information.
- Check Bank Accounts – There are a number of different cryptocurrency exchanges out there. It’s important to go through the list and see if any of them pop up on past bank statements. There might have been transfers or purchases that can be traced. In addition, look beyond traditional bank records and into online accounts like PayPal, Zelle, and more. These accounts can also be used to purchase cryptocurrencies. If money was transferred from the marital bank account and into a PayPal or other account, then it’s important to see what that money was used for.
- Go Over Past Tax Returns – Cryptocurrency needs to be disclosed on yearly tax returns. It’s taxed like any other form of stock or bond. If these purchases, sales, and investments were listed on prior tax returns, then this is a good indication that these cryptocurrencies are still being held. This information can be used to find out if any additional assets are being hidden in this form of digital currency.
- Using Forensics Experts – In order to find the required records in a high asset divorce, forensics experts might be required. These records can determine exactly where the standard money went, which forms of cryptocurrency were purchased and when, and who owns them. Although the spouse who’s wondering about the cryptocurrency might be tempted to hunt down these records on their own, it’s best to leave things to the experts, since they know where to look and don’t have the bias that the soon-to-be ex-spouse does. The records found by the experts are more likely to be viewed positively by the court as well.
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Dividing Cryptocurrency Assets in a Complex Financial Divorce
Once cryptocurrency is located, it can be split during the high asset divorce process. There are several ways in which this can occur, from turning the cryptocurrency into standard currency and splitting it as negotiated, or leaving it as crypto and allow each spouse to take ownership of it, putting the money into two different virtual wallets. There may be other methods as well, depending on the decision of the courts or the two parties involved in the divorce.
Looking For a Top-Rated Divorce Lawyer in Georgia?
Worried that your soon to be former spouse is hiding liquid assets in the form of cryptocurrency? Need to hire a forensics expert to search bank records and other things to find that digital money? Choose a divorce lawyer in Georgia who can help you sift through all of these financial records in order to reach an agreement and settle the division of assets.
At Buckhead Family Law, our legal team works diligently to meet the needs of clients getting divorced in today’s tech driven world – this means taking everything online into consideration. One thing that hasn’t changed about divorce? It is still one of the most harrowing experiences someone can go through, and we understand that. That is why we always treat our clients with grace and compassion.
Need help? We are here to assist you as you begin the next chapter of your life while ensuring that all of the loose ends are tied up in the least complicated way. Schedule a consultation today by calling at 404-600-1403.
Photo by Jievani Weerasinghe on Unsplash