Splitting up assets can be a difficult task when you have been married for quite some time. Unlike couples whose marriages only lasted a few years, your property is likely tightly integrated with that of your soon-to-be ex. In these situations, hiding assets is not uncommon.
In the past, people in Pennsylvania might have stored money in hidden accounts or temporarily gifted valuable property to friends or loved ones. Although not necessarily easy to track down, these are all measures you can track through paperwork or other measures. With digital currency, finding hidden assets is not so easy anymore.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin first hit the stage in 2009 and is currently the most commonly used form of digital currency. Unlike U.S. dollars or other forms of government-issued money, digital currency exists outside of financial institutions without having to answer to governing authorities.
Without any type of oversight, Bitcoin offers users a highly desirable benefit -- anonymity. It is also incredibly difficult to trace. This combination makes Bitcoin an appealing opportunity for people trying to hide money from their spouses.
The Bitcoin problem
People have been hiding important assets from their spouses long before digital currency became a thing. While some methods are straight forward, some individuals get creative. Popular methods include:
- Overpaying taxes
- Purchasing unnecessary gift cards
- Buying and returning items
What makes Bitcoin so different from these methods? Whether making unnecessary purchases or purposely overpaying taxes, these all have one thing in common -- paper trails. From receipts to bank statements, you can track the movement of money easily enough. With Bitcoin, that paper trail does not exist.
How can I protect myself?
It is a good idea to perform a thorough review of all marital assets as soon as it becomes clear that you will divorce. By starting with this platform, it may be easier to spot any unauthorized movement of funds of suspicious draining of accounts.
However, there is no denying that digital currencies like Bitcoin can complicate divorce proceedings. Even divorces that seem agreeable can mask one spouse's otherwise sinister motives. If you suspect that a spouse is hiding assets, it is a good idea to seek the guidance of an experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney.