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Cryptocurrency can complicate divorce

When a Florida resident opens a retirement account or places money in a savings account, it is relatively easy for them to check on its value. They may call up the institution where the account is held and inquire, or they may check a recent statement that they received regarding the account's status. The openness of access to a person's financial devices makes it easy for them to stay on top of their money and to understand their accounts' value in the event they have to divide them due to a divorce.

Readers of this family law blog are probably aware that marital assets are divided between the divorcing partners to a marriage. In order to determine if the division is equitable courts will look at the value of the assets as well as other factors to ensure fairness. However, a new form of monetary device is complicating valuation and allowing some divorcing parties to effectively hide wealth from the unsuspecting partners: cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin, Etherum and other online currencies are a relatively new way for individuals to hold wealth. The value of these devices is volatile - the value of a Bitcoin dropped from around $20,000 to $6,000 over a two month period - and their existence is sometimes hard to track down. For these reasons, dividing them pursuant to a divorce can be incredibly difficult given the complexities surrounding them.

Because individuals must disclose all of their assets during a divorce, some may try to hide wealth in the obscured world of cryptocurrency. This new and complicating factor can make modern high asset divorces even more challenging and should be a significant consideration for any Florida residents who wish to end their high asset marriages in the future.

Source: Bloomberg.com, "Bitcoin Bitterness Starts to Make Messy Divorces Even Worse", Hannah George, Feb. 25, 2018

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