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Is your soon-to-be ex-spouse using Bitcoin to hide assets?

When two people decide to get married, they enter into a contract where both individuals agree to share their lives, through both good and bad times, with one another. When a couple subsequently chooses to divorce, barring a prenuptial agreement, assets earned and obtained during the course of the marriage are to be divided equally between ex-spouses.

While the basic principles that dictate the division of marital assets seem simple and straightforward, the actual process of dividing property and assets is often arduous and contentious. Further complicating matters are the lengths that some husbands and wives will go to when attempting to hide assets from a soon-to-be ex-spouse.

As part of the divorce process, both spouses are required to provide a list of all assets. This list should include both liquid and illiquid assets held in banking, investment and retirement accounts. Additionally, a list of any owned properties, homes and cars must be provided as well as household items and personal belongings. In an attempt to avoid an equal split, many spouses find creative ways to hide assets.

Legal experts believe that the digital currency Bitcoin is the most recent tool being used to hide marital assets in divorce matters. Bitcoin is an electronic currency that exists via the Internet and is not monitored or managed by any government or bank. As a result, the digital currently has been linked to the transaction of illegal materials such as weapons and drugs.

Anyone can purchase Bitcoin currency and some prominent divorce attorneys believe the virtual currency is and will continue to be used by some spouses to hide assets from an estranged or ex-spouse. In response, courts across the U.S. have begun taking steps to crack down on hidden assets involving Bitcoin currency and"issue search and discovery orders."

California residents who are going through a divorce may believe a spouse is hiding assets. A divorce attorney who handles complex and high-asset divorces matters can assist in the discovery of hidden assets and help ensure an individual receives his or her fair share in a divorce settlement.

Source: CNBC.com, "Bitcoin could be used to hide assets in divorces, warn lawyers," Jane Croft, June 3, 2014

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