Creighton McLean & Shea PLC

Is cryptocurrency the new “offshore account” in divorce?

Years ago, well-to-do couples going through a divorce might have hidden their money from each other in offshore accounts. Today, the same people might try hiding money someplace even more exotic: their cryptocurrency accounts.

Cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, is still not in common use -- but it has made some people extraordinarily wealthy through relatively small investments. It is also rapidly becoming a way for more financially sophisticated husbands and wives to hide their assets from their spouses during a divorce. Some invest without their spouses knowing, while others just squirrel away money in accounts that they keep secret.

Since cryptocurrency was designed in a way that is easily hidden and protected with an electronic key, it can be difficult to track such investments down. Sometimes purchases can be tracked through bank statements and online exchanges. A really smart spouse, however, may make sure that the purchases are done directly and stored offline.

Another problem facing some divorcing couples is trying to place an appropriate value on the cryptocurrency that is located. The cryptocurrency market is prone to drastic fluctuations that can make it necessary to revalue the assets several times until the divorce is finished.

If cryptocurrency is involved in your divorce, experts suggest that you consider hiring a digital forensic expert to assist with your case. Even if your spouse appears to be cooperative, there is the potential that you may be seeing only what your spouse wants you to see -- and the picture you have is not complete. For more information on how to deal with complex financial issues in your divorce, talk to an attorney about your options.

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