Posted on behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA
People in Maryland may have seen an interesting article about the new frontier of digital currency, and its potential to provide an anonymous haven to conceal financial assets. Spouses preparing for a divorce need to be aware of hidden assets in all forms, but the relatively new phenomenon of digital currencies such as Bitcoin may make it easier for a dishonest spouse to convert traceable assets into undocumented digital currency, which is why divorcing spouses and their legal counsel need to be ready to address this issue.
In Maryland, each spouse is entitled to an equitable share of the marital property during the property division process. Marital property generally includes most assets acquired by the couple during the duration of the marriage, including financial assets, business holdings, tangible property and real estate. In a simple property division case, these assets are identified, valued and distributed equitably between the two divorcing parties.
However, when a spouse decides to deceive the system by concealing marital property, the other spouse and their attorney must go through a series of legal motions to ensure that all relevant property is being properly disclosed. The spouse is generally able to compel records and financial documents when it comes to traditional assets, but the legal system may still be learning how to deal with new currencies like Bitcoin, which can be relatively anonymous and difficult to track.
Property division is an extremely important part of the divorce settlement, and people should never take it on faith that their future ex-spouse is willing to play fair. People who want to ensure that they get their fair share in property division need the help of an experienced divorce attorney to help them discover hidden assets, especially in regards to Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Source: CNBC, “Bitcoin could be used to hide assets in divorces, warn lawyers,” Jane Croft, June 3, 2014