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Digital Currencies a New Problem in Illinois Divorce Settlements

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. March 18, 2019

Cryptocurrency has gained popularity in recent years as it has appreciated in value. However, this can be a problem when it comes to time to divide assets in a divorce. A major problem is trying to determine how much of a given currency a person owns. If the currency is held offline, it is almost impossible to find out where it is on a computer or other server.

If the currency was bought on an exchange, there may be a record of the transaction taking place. Of course, there is still the issue of trying to determine how much it is worth for asset division purposes. There is no set rule as to what price to use. In some cases, the price of the asset on the day a person filed for divorce is the anchor price. In others, the price of the asset when it is distributed is the value used in the settlement.

Further complicating matters is that the price can change rapidly in a matter of hours or days, which could make either figure obsolete quickly. Individuals are urged to not intentionally hide assets. If they are caught, it could result in being held in contempt of court. That could result in a person spending time in jail, and it could also result in an individual losing leverage in settlement talks.

Dividing property in a divorce may be contentious regardless of what needs to be split. However, there is a chance that individuals can negotiate a settlement in a timely manner. This may be done by consulting with an attorney or working with a mediator. In some cases, individuals will go to mediation and then have a settlement reviewed by legal counsel to ensure that is in their best interest to sign it.