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Attorneys Vic Hill and Brad MacDonald

Divorce courts may seek to catch up to the new currencies

The internet has revolutionized many aspects of today’s life, including wealth creation and management. Now, there are also concerns that the internet could be an aid to assist a sneaky spouse to disguise wealth during a divorce proceeding. Couples here in Georgia who may be contemplating separation, may benefit from learning about how some states are approaching the discovery process concerning each partner’s assets.

While the bitcoin phenomenon has seemed to died down in the most recent past, there have been accusations both here and abroad concerning the attempts of some dishonest husbands to hide assets in the internet form of money. As a result, there has been a movement within some jurisdictions to include language that specifies reporting wealth in non-tradition forms during the discovery process. There have been reports of spouses, mainly the husband, who is savvy enough to move his internet money from one virtual account to another.

One of the biggest obstacles to tracking this type of wealth is the fact that the system has a built-in feature of protecting the identity of the account holders. When the owner of the account is in question or cannot be properly verified, then it makes the inclusion of that asset difficult for divorce courts. There has however, been an effort by these courts to require the listing of all assets, virtual and otherwise in order to provide both spouses an equitable share after a marriage dissolution.

The collective opinion of professionals is that within a relatively short time frame, the legal language will catch up with the internet once again. Just as adaptations have been made in the past regarding social media and other aspects of the World Wide Web, bitcoin will be included during the investigation process in order to prevent attempts to conceal assets. Georgia couples who are in the process of getting a divorce do have options and resources available to ensure that the process is as pain and trouble-free as possible, without the added worry of underhanded attempts to thwart the equitable sharing of wealth and assets.

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