The Rise of the Crypto Divorce

Talk to anyone who’s gone through divorce and they’d likely say the experience was no walk in the park. If you’re facing a divorce in 2022, there’s a new asset that needs to be accounted for – Cryptocurrencies. Here’s what you need to know.

In the last few years, the cryptocurrency market has exploded. It’s hard to go a day without hearing about it in the news. But what does that mean for your divorce?

Well, if you’re dealing with a crypto-rich spouse, it can mean some serious headaches. Crypto assets are notoriously difficult to trace and control—and it doesn’t help that there are still plenty of legal gray areas when it comes to cryptocurrencies themselves. That means they’re not always easy to deal with in court cases like divorce proceedings.

When it comes to discovering hidden assets such as cryptocurrencies, Masters Law Group has your back. Here’s everything you need to know about crypto assets in divorce cases so you can make sure you’re getting what’s fair.

Cryptocurrency Basics

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency that uses the technology of cryptography to secure its transactions. It is designed to be used as a medium of exchange, like money, but it can also be used to transfer data securely.

One of the early appeals of cryptocurrency was that it provided the opportunity to transfer large amounts of wealth anonymously without any government or institutional interference. These days, cryptocurrency is used by some owners to take care of routine matters such as paying bills, buying goods, and others use it as collateral to obtain loans. Many others are purchasing it as a form of investment.

The most popular form of cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. Some examples of other digital currencies include Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Zcash, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, among others. 

Why is Cryptocurrency Relevant Upon Divorce?

Cryptocurrency is an asset to be considered in the financial settlement. The reality is that it is not a feature of mainstream divorce yet. This is because a large proportion of the general public still views cryptocurrency as too much of a gamble and the difficulty of identifying whether or not someone holds cryptocurrency.

However, with the current growth in popularity we can expect to see more cases involving cryptocurrencies as assets for divorce settlements. Cryptocurrency is increasingly being used as an alternative form of payment and investment, so it’s important to understand how it could be treated in your divorce case.

Looking For Cryptocurrency Assets

If you suspect that your spouse/civil partner is hiding cryptocurrency from you, there are steps you can take to investigate the matter.

First, make sure that both parties provide full and frank disclosure. This means that both parties should disclose all of their assets, including cryptocurrency. If one party suspects that the other isn’t disclosing cryptocurrency in the course of their divorce proceedings, then preliminary investigative works need to begin.

The standard disclosure process requires each party to disclose bank statements. These should be carefully examined to see if there are any transactions or proof of purchase of cryptocurrency i.e. exchanges or trading platforms. If the bank statements aren’t showing anything, then you can  request your spouse’s credit card statements. You also can make a specific request for disclosure of all apps on their spouse’s smartphone.

Agreements on Dividing Crypto Assets

The rise of cryptocurrency has created a whole new world for the courts. With its fluctuating value, crypto assets can represent substantial sums of money that are not always easy to track down. This can lead to court cases where one spouse is accused of hiding assets from their spouse, or where an unscrupulous party will try to use the anonymity of crypto assets to hide their own assets.

When a couple gets divorced, it can be difficult to determine how to divide the assets. In the case of cryptocurrency, however, the process is fairly straightforward.

  • Simple Division: You receive a share of the cryptocurrency in its current form.
  • Custodial Holding: If you decide to not set up a cryptocurrency account, you can find the custodial approach suitable. A third-party custodian can transact in cryptocurrency, receive your share and hold it until the divorce is final.
  • Cryptocurrency Owner Liquidation: The former spouse who owns the asset will convert the other party’s share to cash. The digital currency’s value on the day of sale determines how much money you receive.
  • Liquidation With No Claim Upon Remaining Cryptocurrency: This approach starts the same as #3. However, both parties have agreed in advance that the original owner of the cryptocurrency now has full title to the remaining asset and does not owe the former spouse any remaining crypto.

Regardless of whether you decide to keep your cryptocurrency or sell it off, it’s important to remember that there is no loophole when it comes to divorce proceedings. The courts are used to the volatility and fluctuating value of shares and other types of assets—cryptocurrency is a whole new phenomenon.

If you’re having doubts and suspect that your spouse is hiding crypto and don’t know what signs to look out for, you can find that information here. If you have questions about the different types of crypto and are trying to get acquainted with the market, you can find that information here.

Masters Law Group – Cryptocurrency and Divorce Lawyers

When you are facing the divorce process in Illinois and are dealing with cryptocurrency asset division, do not hesitate to call the attorneys at Masters Law Group. 

Our team of attorneys are highly experienced in dealing with Cryptocurrencies in divorce and are here to answer your questions about divorce and digital asset division.

Contact us today for more information, or to schedule a consultation.

Crypto Divorce Lawyer

Dividing assets is a standard part of any Illinois divorce case. At Masters Law Group, our skilled cryptocurrency divorce attorneys track down these digital assets and negotiate an appropriate and fair division.

While some cryptocurrencies are easily found during the discovery phase of divorce proceedings, others, such as bitcoin, can be more challenging to find, particularly when they are private. If you have an impending divorce on your hands, you need to know how to find, value and divide them.

If you or your spouse own cryptocurrency, you are going to want to make sure it is discussed with your divorce attorney. It may be a marital asset that needs to be valued and divided; but due to cryptocurrency wildly fluctuating, it can sometimes be problematic to value, and therefore split fairly.

Here’s what you need to know about handling bitcoin and other cryptos in divorce.

A QUICK RECAP OF CRYPTOCURRENCY

The use of cryptocurrency varies user to user. Some people prefer to use cryptocurrency for online purchases to ensure secure financial transactions. Others might use it simply to capitalize on discounts or rewards offered for the use of digital currencies.

The most popular form of cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. Some examples of other digital currencies are Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Zcash, Bitcoin Cash, and Cardano. Digital currency is bought, sold, and traded on various platforms. Coinbase is a popular platform used for Bitcoin. Some other digital currency exchange platforms are Kraken, BitStamp, ShapeShift, Gemini, and Bisq.

Cryptocurrencies are validated by a blockchain. This refers to a list of records called blocks that are linked together like a chain. Blockchains are designed to be secure. The foundation of a blockchain is a “decentralized database.” Blockchains can include a piece of information called a hash.

It is very important to know if any parties in a family law matter have cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency can be a marital asset eligible for division in a divorce. If you know cryptocurrency exists, it will need to be valued. Cryptocurrency has an exchange rate just like standard currency and it can be converted into U.S. dollars. There are programs on the internet that can assist with the conversion of cryptocurrency to dollars. It may be helpful to know which conversion rate program that cryptocurrency owner utilizes.

LOOKING FOR CRYPTOCURRENCY

Valuation presents the primary difficulty when two people need to divide digital currency. Cryptocurrency assets are notorious for sharp shifts in value over short periods of time.

Figuring out whether or not cryptocurrency exists is important. Have you discussed cryptocurrency with your spouse? Have you overheard them boating to their friends about their crypto wallet? Will bank account statements or credit card statements show deposits or withdrawals from a digital currency platform? Are there emails or other correspondence that contain information about cryptocurrency?

If any of these are true in your marriage or divorce, you should notify your attorney immediately. Your attorney will need to start collecting information about the cryptocurrency. Obtaining documentation about cryptocurrency can be tricky because often the point of cryptocurrency is for transactions to remain private or secure.

First, it needs to be determined if the cryptocurrency owner has a wallet and whether that wallet is online or is a physical device. The wallet will have an ID and a password for logging which can be requested in discovery. Wallets can be similar to a portable hard drive and be an actual physical item. In other instances, the wallet may just be online and through one of the cryptocurrency exchange platforms. Different steps need to be taken to preserve information from both kinds of wallets.

An owner can usually download a transaction history from his/her wallet or exchange platform. The transaction history is often downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet or other electronic document. The download contains information like a bank statement such as date, time, amount of cryptocurrency, conversion rate, balance, transaction ID, and hash information.

Most transactions will show some sort of confirmation of purchase. Often the confirmation occurs via email and serves as a receipt. The confirmation may include the conversion rate, dollar amount, and a date and timestamp. In some instances, the confirmation may identify where the cryptocurrency user deposited the funds after sale or where they withdrew the funds from to make a purchase. This can help you in the long run to identify other assets.

Cryptocurrency Division

After identifying crypto as a marital asset and considering its valuation, you have four main options for dividing the assets in  question:

  • Simple Division: In this approach, you simply receive a share of the cryptocurrency in its current form.
  • Custodial Holding: Should you not wish to set up a cryptocurrency account, you may find the custodial approach suitable. A third-party custodian who can transact in cryptocurrency receives your share and holds it until the divorce is final.
  • Cryptocurrency Owner Liquidation: The former spouse who owns the asset will convert the other party’s share to cash. The digital currency’s value on the day of sale determines how much money you receive.
  • Liquidation With No Claim Upon Remaining Cryptocurrency: This approach starts the same as #3. However, both parties have agreed in advance that the original owner of the cryptocurrency now has full title to the remaining asset and does not owe the former spouse any more of the cryptocurrency regardless of how its value may change in the future.

Choosing how to distribute cryptocurrency in a divorce requires careful evaluation. You may need to weigh advice from your divorce attorney to arrive at the best solution for your unique case.

FINAL THOUGHTS

These days, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are all the rage. As such, the issue of bitcoin is bound to pop up in divorce cases.

Lack of familiarity with cryptocurrency or outright discomfort with it add another wrinkle to divorce negotiations. Which is why it is important to make sure that bitcoin is properly discovered and valued in family law matters. If you know or suspect that cryptocurrency will be a part of your divorce, talk to your family law attorney immediately and put together a game plan for dealing with it. This may include a plan for how to explain how cryptocurrency works with other parties or professionals in your case.

If you are concerned about how your or your spouse’s cryptocurrency assets could affect your divorce or the asset division process, Masters Law Group can help. Our team of highly trained and experienced attorneys are here to answer your questions about divorce and digital asset division.

Contact us today for more information, or to schedule a consultation.

A Guide to Divorce and Cryptocurrency

In 2022, cryptocurrencies are playing a big role in divorces. If you’re facing a divorce and lost on how to find, value and split cryptos, here’s what you need to know. 

With the rise in popularity of cryptocurrency over the past few years, it is becoming a hot topic in many divorce cases. When it comes to dividing assets in a divorce, it can be difficult to know what to do with cryptocurrency. While there are many different types of cryptocurrencies, they all operate in fundamentally similar ways: they are digital currencies that can be exchanged for goods and services or other currencies, and many are traded on online exchanges.

This guide will give you a high-level overview of cryptocurrency and explain your options on how to deal with it in a divorce. Let’s take a look.

Cryptocurrency Basics

The rise (and falls) of cryptocurrency has been unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The market is so volatile that some have compared it to the Wild West. And yet, the demand for it seems insatiable. So what is cryptocurrency, and why are people so interested in it?

Cryptocurrency is a virtual or digital currency that can be used like real money as a medium of exchange. It is not a physical token, like a dollar bill, but is similar to an electronic payment system (think of swiping your credit card) as a way to pay for something.

Cryptocurrency “coins” are held in a digital wallet, which can be an online service, a software program, or a personal hard drive among other things. The wallet allows the owner to make secure transactions for goods and services or keep it as a type of investment. Since the coins are not issued by a central authority, like a bank or government, they are theoretically immune to inflation and other government interference.

Cryptocurrency and Taxes

When you sell or transfer cryptocurrency, it is treated as property and capital gains are taxed. You will incur a gain or loss when sold, transferred as payment for goods or services, exchanged with another crypto, and at other various scenarios.

You are required by the IRS to report gains and losses on each transaction even if the gain or loss is not material. The difference between the purchase price and sales/transfer price is what will be taxed.

If the value at the time of sale or transfer is more than the purchase price, you will incur a capital gain. If the value at the time of sale or transfer is less than the purchase price, you will incur a capital loss.

Understanding Cryptocurrency and Divorce

When you are going through a divorce, you will need to provide financial disclosures to your spouse. This includes information about your assets, income, and expenses. Cryptocurrency is considered an asset and not income. As such, it should be listed on your financial disclosures when you are going through the divorce process.

Most cryptocurrency holdings have a current value which is listed when you log into your account. The values listed are based on current exchange rates for that specific cryptocurrency to US dollars. However, values can fluctuate by a significant amount daily so it is important to keep this into consideration when using the value listed on the financial disclosures when dividing property.

How to Determine the Marital Portion of Cryptocurrency in a Divorce

Property division laws vary from state to state. A vast majority of states are equitable distribution states where assets are divided fairly but not always equally.

Illinois has taken steps to protect individuals who have invested in cryptocurrencies by allowing them to be counted as part of their overall net worth during divorce proceedings. In Illinois, all property held by either party is presumed marital property unless it falls under an exception such as being acquired before the marriage, being a gift or an inheritance.

Dividing crypto in Illinois is similar to the division of any other assets. Illinois is not a community property state, which means the court will split assets purchased, converted or appraised throughout the marriage in an equitable manner.

How Masters Law Group Can Help

When it comes to modern-day divorce cases, Masters Law Group has you covered on all things crypto. If you’re facing a divorce and suspect that your spouse is hiding crypto (and don’t know what signs to look out for), you can find that information in our recent blog here. If you have questions about the different types of popularized crypto, you can find that information right here.

Masters Law Group is here to help you through this stressful time. It’s important to consult your attorney as soon as you find any hidden cryptocurrency and discuss everything you know about the assets such as the type of crypto, the date of purchase and its appreciation. Gather any documents and records you may need in order to get your affairs in order.

Our team of attorneys are highly experienced in dealing with Cryptocurrencies in divorce and are here to answer your questions about divorce and digital asset division.

Contact us today for more information, or to schedule a consultation.

 

The Illinois Divorce Process and Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are a new form of currency, rapidly gaining popularity and media attention across the globe. It’s estimated more than 20 million Americans may own cryptocurrency, and how to split holdings has become a growing concern in divorce settlements. 

The problem for divorcing couples is that the division and valuation of cryptocurrencies can be just as difficult as dividing up the equity in a home.

Throughout our cryptocurrency series we have answered many questions regarding different types of crypto and where you can find hidden assets. In a world where cryptocurrency is increasingly accepted as legitimate, it’s only natural that Masters Law Group’s experienced attorneys would know how to handle it. Here’s a quick look at how the state handles the issue at hand.

Disclosing Bitcoins And Cryptocurrencies in an Illinois Divorce

It’s important to understand how the state of Illinois divides and separates cryptocurrency assets. Illinois has taken steps to protect individuals who have invested in cryptocurrencies by allowing them to be counted as part of their overall net worth during divorce proceedings.

However, there are some stipulations involved in this process. Any money received from selling cryptocurrency is considered to be liquidated property and thus should not be counted as part of the overall net worth of an individual during a divorce settlement.

This process may trigger a couple of questions. How would you verify Bitcoin holdings? Would you print a screen grab from an online platform where you hold Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies? Would you entrust your ex-spouse or their attorneys with the password to your accounts? Coin exchange companies such as Coinbase will issue a 1099-K each year if there have been $20,000 or more in exchanges of cryptocurrency.

Typically, the opposing party’s attorney will go through the process of cleaning up the financial affidavit and ask you for these documents to verify the claimed assets. The opposing party’s attorney will issue a “Notice To Produce” asking for copies of statements for your 401k, bank accounts, etc. If you have access to those documents, you must provide them a copy of those documents if they request it. Failure to do so can result in a finding of contempt of court.

The Illinois Department of Revenue requires 1099-K forms to be submitted electronically to Illinois when four or more separate transactions exceed $1,000 or if you are required by the IRS* to electronically file Forms 1099-K.

Essentially any 4 crypto-currency purchases, sales or trades will trigger a 1099-K in Illinois and the cryptocurrency holder will have those 1099-K as part of their standard tax packet. If your spouse will not fully disclose their cryptocurrency holdings, you may have to turn to an expensive third party to discover any additional holdings.

How Do You Divide Crypto in Illinois?

After determining the actual existence and quantity of your spouse’s cryptocurrency, the next step in the analysis is to figure out what portion of the cryptocurrency is marital. In Illinois, all property held by either party is presumed marital property unless it falls under an exception such as being acquired before the marriage, being a gift or an inheritance.

Typically, if both parties agree to the settlement they might have to include a formula for the volatility of the crypto. Once the judge approves of the formula, the price of that cryptocurrency in the martial estate becomes more foreseeable. 

Dividing crypto in Illinois is similar to the division of any other assets. Illinois is not a community property state, which means the court will split assets purchased, converted or appraised throughout the marriage in an equitable manner. It’s important to note that when it’s split equitably, it doesn’t always mean equal. Here are a couple factors that determine equitable distribution:

  • Age, health, financial circumstance of a spouse
  • Financial contributions to marital estate
  • Court-ordered obligations related to previous marriages
  • Child custody considerations
  • Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Tax Concerns
  • Marriage Duration
  • Alimony provisions

If you are ever unsure about the ownership of your property, you should consult legal counsel immediately in order to avoid any uncertainness. Lastly, if both parties agree to the settlement they might have to include a formula for the volatility of the crypto. Once the judge approves of the formula, the price of that cryptocurrency in the martial estate becomes more foreseeable.

The volatility of the price of these assets makes it very difficult to adequately value at the time of the divorce. Discovery and final negotiation of a divorce can sometimes take months and in that time a cryptocurrency could double or halve in value. A cash out of the cryptocurrency before the finality of the divorce is probably advised to finalize the marital value.

How Masters Law Group Can Help

When it comes to modern-day divorce cases, Masters Law Group has you covered on all things crypto. If you’re facing a divorce and suspect that your spouse is hiding crypto (and don’t know what signs to look out for), you can find that information in our recent blog here. If you have questions about the different types of popularized crypto, you can find that information right here.

Masters Law Group is here to help you through this stressful time. It’s important to consult your attorney as soon as you find any hidden cryptocurrency and discuss everything you know about the assets such as the type of crypto, the date of purchase and its appreciation. Gather any documents and records you may need in order to get your affairs in order. 

Our team of attorneys are highly experienced in dealing with Cryptocurrencies in divorce and are here to answer your questions about divorce and digital asset division.

Contact us today for more information, or to schedule a consultation.

The Dogecoin Divorce

Industry groups estimate more than 20 million Americans may own cryptocurrency, including Dogecoin. Now many are left wondering how to split holdings in divorce settlements. 

Divorce is one of the most stressful events that a human can endure. It can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining. Especially when you’re dealing with the division of your assets. Now that some of those assets have gone digital for an increasing number of people, an already complicated process stands to get more difficult.

Cryptocurrency is a digital form of payment that can be used to purchase goods or services online. Every transaction is done online and tracked via a highly secure ledger called a blockchain. You might have heard of Dogecoin, a crypto that has made big news lately for its wildly fluctuating value. There are more than 10,000 unique publicly-traded cryptos, with more being added every day.

In the sixth part of our Cryptocurrencies and Divorce series, we discussed the situations in which cryptocurrency can be found during the divorce settlement process and also if it can be lost within the settlement. While tracking down the funds isn’t an easy process, our third part of the series will give you a little more insight on the Cryptocurrency Dogecoin Assets.

With all of these forces at play during a divorce, it’s best to be prepared for whatever the outcome may be and hiring a family law attorney well-versed in cryptocurrencies is always an advantage. Here’s what you need to know about Dogecoin and Divorce.

What is Dogecoin?

Dogecoin originated as an alternative to traditional cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. Both the name and logo were based off of a meme that went viral. Dogecoin is intentionally abundant which is different in comparison to bitcoin which is scarce. In 2021, Dogecoin became one of the biggest cryptocurrencies in the market. 

Since Dogecoin was created to be abundant, miners were able to produce more by the minute. DOGE was based on supply and demand, and that surged enomurlsey which inturn has given it a higher value- due to reddit threads popularizing this cryptocurrency. 

Fast-rising DOGE prices in 2021 attracted media attention due to social media memes, which created a cycle that attracted more investors and further increased prices. Whenever an asset sees such dramatic gains, people tend to have a fear of missing out, which brings waves of new traders into the fold. 

It’s important to note that DOGE remains a highly volatile cryptocurrency. Like any investment there is no guarantee that it will go up or down in the future.

Challenges of Crypto & Divorce

The rising popularity of cryptocurrency for investors means that it is becoming a factor in divorce settlements. Many spouses are attempting to hide their money inside crypto to keep it from being divided between themselves and their future ex-partners.  

​​The costs associated with uncovering hidden cryptocurrency assets can also be substantial. Before moving forward with a court order to uncover potential hidden crypto assets, a spouse and their divorce lawyers may want to make sure that they are relatively certain about the outcome. 

One of the biggest obstacles for divorcees is simply a lack of understanding about what crypto is and how it factors into the traditional financial portfolios of divorcing spouses. The amount of money involved is also a consideration. People with a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars in undisclosed cryptocurrency are rarely the proper target of such an investigation. An experienced family law attorney may help a spouse concerned about crypto assets decide whether or how to pursue a court order and full forensic investigation. 

Final Thoughts

Living in a digital age like we do today, where things become meme-able by the second due to social media, it’s important to stay in the know. That’s why Dogecoin, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies are increasingly expected to pop up in a divorce settlements today and in the future.

Because splitting digital currency may be more complex than traditional investments, such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, it is important to be prepared and make sure that crypto is properly discovered and valued in family law matters. If you know or suspect that cryptocurrency will be a part of your divorce, talk to your family law attorney immediately and put together a game plan for dealing with it. 

Our team of award-winning attorneys are highly experienced in dealing with Cryptocurrencies in divorce, and are here to answer your questions about divorce and digital asset division.

Contact us today for more information, or to schedule a consultation.