If you typed this article’s heading into an online search engine, chances are you’re considering hiding digital assets in your divorce case. Here’s why it’s a very bad idea.
The dramatic rise of cryptocurrency has led some spouses to hiding those digital assets during divorce settlements. In a divorce, both parties are expected to be honest about their assets, as all assets acquired during marriage are subject to division in a divorce. While property, stocks, bonds, bank accounts and 401(k)s can be easily tracked down, cryptocurrencies can be a bit more difficult. However, as it becomes more common, many lawyers are more aware of them and have started to learn the challenges surrounding them.
Which begs the question, is it illegal to hide crypto from your ex during a divorce?
What assets must be disclosed in a divorce?
In an Illinois-based divorce case, it is legally required that each spouse discloses any and all assets, income and debt as part of the financial disclosure process. This also includes digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies. The issue with crypto, though, is enforceability and tracking it down if it is hidden. Regardless, spouses who fail to disclose still face legal trouble. Financial disclosures are signed under penalty of perjury so non-disclosure could lead to criminal charges.
While there are ways to locate cryptocurrency activity, it is still difficult to discover and you could need experienced help from a Cryptocurrency experienced attorney. Older forms of crypto like bitcoin and ethereum are easier to track but other, more anonymous forms, are much harder for even experts to find. If exchanges are based in a foreign country, it can become even more difficult. However, it is still possible. Lawyers like the attorneys at Masters Law Group can grant subpoenas to get information if trades occurred in the United States. Additionally, forensic investigators or financial experts may be hired to uncover the assets.
What happens if I hide assets in a divorce?
Hiding assets in a divorce will likely lead to discovery. Submitting incorrect documentation, failing to disclose assets or intentionally concealing them could lead to facing criminal charges. Perjury and contempt of court are the most common charges faced from these activities, but in extreme cases, you could pay large fines or even be forced to spend time in jail.
Additionally, hiding assets is considered highly unethical by the court. Judges can use this information to make their own decisions relating to asset division. Oftentimes, attempting to hide your assets leads to your ex-spouse’s benefit, receiving a higher percentage of the total assets.
Hiding assets is always a risky proposition and likely not worth it. Even though crypto is difficult to track, it’s still possible and the outcome would not be in your favor. It’s best to be honest about your assets during divorce proceedings, increasing the chances of getting your assets split fairly.
If you’re going through a divorce and are in need of legal help, Masters Law Group is here to help. Contact us today.