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.
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.