Divorces are messy, and cryptocurrencies are helping to make them a whole lot more so. Virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are a new challenge for U.K.
lawyers, plagued with volatility and secrecy that is extending the already painful process of dividing a couple’s assets. The rising popularity of Bitcoin — and for a while at least, its rising value — means more separations involve the currency, which is difficult to trace and hard to value.
Although parties have a duty to provide full disclosure of their assets in a divorce, the anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies potentially make them a safe haven for spouses wishing to hide their money from a warring partner. “Often in a divorce one spouse is looking for a pot of gold that doesn’t exist.
But with cryptocurrencies, it’s possible the pot does exist,” Toby Yerburgh, head of Family Law at Collyer Bristow, said in an interview. Yerburgh said he started to get cases where partners are concerned about hidden Bitcoins since the currency became better known last year.
If one party decides not to disclose or provide evidence of their holdings, the divorce process becomes more expensive and time-consuming, and could result in the partner failing to get a fair share of assets. This can amount to a lot of money in the U.K., which has a reputation of being a more sympathetic place to play out high-stakes divorces, because judges generally order a 50-50 split of assets, giving equal weight to the work of a wealth creator and a partner. Read more from fortune.com…
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