Technology & Divorce – Hiding Assets in…BitCoin?
Is your spouse hiding their assets through Bitcoin or another new technology? Will you and your children be short-changed during a divorce proceeding?
Jonathan Marks, attorney and owner of The Marks Law Firm, appeared on TNtv to continue his discussion of how new advancements in technology are impacting family law.
In the third of a three-part TNtv segment, Marks discussed the impact Bitcoin is having in domestic litigation.
Marks said in the “old days” a person wishing to shield their assets would create an off-shore account hoping those funds would never be discovered.
Using New Technology to Hide Assets During Divorce
Now technology has made it easier to hide large amounts of cash through new electronic currencies like Bitcoin.
Marks explained that Bitcoin is encrypted currency shared on a peer-to-peer network much like music has been traded on Napster.
This type of currency is not regulated by the government and is therefore difficult to track. Since it is encrypted the only person who can access it is someone who owns a Bitcoin encryptor.
One Bitcoin is valued at around $500. Marks said the only way to discover it is for a spouse to monitor their bank account and see if money is slowly disappearing to an unknown destination. Usually this occurs in various amounts of $500 or $1,000.
An astute person may start hiding funds in this manner to ensure they have enough money for attorney fees and to start a new life should a divorce occur.
Marks said it is extremely difficult to discover these funds during a divorce proceeding. Should a spouse lie about their existence it is virtually impossible to trace them.
Legality of Hiding Funds in BitCoin
Use of Bitcoin is technically not illegal but a judge will punish an individual if he believes the spouse is using it to hide their money. What would have been a 50-50 split of the asset pool may be impacted by this type of behavior and severity of the spouse’s conduct.
Overall Marks said the use of technology in a divorce proceeding has both positive and negative aspects.
If someone uses technology to prove their spouse is capable of working, when they indicated they could not, the court could look at that in a positive manner as long as nothing was done illegally. It can bolster one’s evidence while hindering the credibility of the other spouse.
On the flip side, if one uses technology to embarrass their spouse, the court will wonder if this was done to punish the husband or wife or is it really in the best interests of the family. The court will always put the interests of the children first.
If secret recordings are used to the overall detriment of the asset pool and negatively impact the children, the court will not look at it positively. One may have spent a whole lot of money and time to gather information that can’t be used within the case, and can ultimately be used against the very person presenting it.
More information is available by contacting The Marks Law Firm at 314-993-6300.
Watch part 3 of our interview with Jonathan below!