New Pitfalls In Technology and Divorce

Written by on June 4, 2014 in Division of Assets

We have all heard stories about errant text messages, snarky Facebook updates, and inappropriate e-mails causing havoc in divorce cases.  Technology has made it far too easy for people in the midst of a divorce to “say” something they ultimately regret.  These texts, e-mails, Instagram photos, etc. may end up as evidence in custody battles, domestic violence disputes, and other issues that used to be a matter of “he said/she said.”  Now it has become “he said/she said by text message.”

Well, technology has now thrown a new twist in divorces – cryptocurrency or digital currency, such as Bitcoin.  While still obscure, Bitcoins are gradually becoming more widely accepted, and they may be a way for a spouse to hide assets from the other spouse.  Bitcoins are tougher to track, tougher to trace, and tougher to link to any single individual than traditional assets.  There are no centralized banks to subpoena with all transactions simply logged on a public ledger.  As a result, spouses may find it increasingly difficult and cost-prohibitive to obtain full disclosure of Bitcoin ownership and use.

Farkhad & Wang, APLC is keeping current with precedent set in other areas of law where Bitcoin discovery is starting to take place, as we expect to see this soon in divorce cases here in Orange County.  It is no surprise that California is leading the charge on Bitcoin discovery, since we are home to tech-savvy Silicon Valley.  But that also means we are more likely to see more Bitcoin action here, and we need to start demanding disclosure of cryptocurrency/digital currency in each divorce action.

Technology is ever-evolving.  The definition of “financial assets” is changing.  The law, the courts, and the attorneys need to keep up; otherwise parties may find themselves leaving millions in digital currency on the table.

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