Divorce requires the division of property as spouses separate their lives at the end of a marriage. For many couples, property division becomes the most heated part of the divorce process, as they may disagree about what is fair.
In some cases, people will go so far as to lie to one another and/or the courts in the hopes of manipulating the outcome so that they keep more of the marital estate than they otherwise should. Cryptocurrency is one of many assets that can complicate property division and might play a role in financial misconduct during a divorce. Accordingly, those who are preparing for a complex Illinois divorce may benefit from reviewing the five facts below.
Separate accounts aren’t separate property
The first and most important property division rule someone needs to understand in Illinois divorce is that just because one spouse has a bank account in their own name or buys up assets without telling the other does not mean that they are the sole owner of those assets. Any resources acquired during the marriage, especially if someone uses marital income, are potentially part of the marital estate and subject to equitable distribution rules.
Cryptocurrency can be hard to find
Unlike other financial assets and investments, cryptocurrency does not have any physical form. There isn’t even a centralized account that holds all of someone’s cryptocurrency. Instead, there is a complex system for maintaining and validating the ownership records for digital assets. It can therefore be a challenge to effectively locate all of someone’s cryptocurrency holdings, especially if they have invested in more than one form of cryptocurrency.
Valuing cryptocurrency is difficult
Like any other investment, the value of cryptocurrencies varies widely from type to type and even throughout the day. It can be very hard to establish a reasonable fair market value for cryptocurrency to ensure that one spouse can fairly claim the value of the currency.
Cryptocurrency can be difficult to divide
Given that there isn’t an account to split, actually dividing cryptocurrency could be a challenge in an Illinois divorce. Often, people have to consider the financial value of the cryptocurrency when handling other assets rather than trying to lay claim to some of the cryptocurrency.
Not all lawyers have experience with cryptocurrency
People have only been buying and selling digital resources for a few years now, and many divorce attorneys in Illinois have no experience handling these unique assets in the context of a divorce.
Realizing that cryptocurrency can inspire challenges during an Illinois divorce may help someone to understand the need for legal guidance in order to better protect themselves during the property division process.