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To disclose or not to disclose – Bitcoin and divorce.

According to recent press reports, the electronic currency Bitcoin could be used as a means of hiding assets by divorcing spouses. While the law demands transparency when it comes to the disclosure of assets during the divorce process, it seems that not everyone is quite as frank as they should be.

Getting divorced is of course a difficult process, and when you add overseas assets and jurisdiction issues into the mix things can become tricky; particularly where unscrupulous spouses look to hide their wealth.

Over the years I’ve uncovered many a divorcing spouse try to hide assets through a variety of creative (and not so creative!) means, including hiding assets offshore, giving away assets to a third party (such as new partner or family member) and through the creation of complex corporate structures or trusts (particularly those held in oversees tax havens).

Bitcoin and other digital currencies which can be sent over the internet without the need for a central bank add yet another level of complexity to the financial settlement element of the divorce process.

With an increase in the number of legal battles over the issue of non-disclosure of assets, divorce lawyers need to be aware of the implications surrounding Bitcoin and may need to start listing digital currency in any financial disclosure orders.

The courts however are becoming increasingly robust when it comes to such non-disclosure and in some instances have even been known to imprison divorcing husbands for trying to hide the true value of their assets. Something to think about before you swap the pound for the bitcoin!

Find out more about our Family department

Written by Colin Davies. Find out more about Colin here. 

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