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Family and Divorce Law

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Bitcoin: a new way for spouses to hide assets

If you are going through a high-asset Nevada divorce, you may suspect that your spouse is hiding assets from you in an attempt to skew the property division. Hiding assets before or during a divorce is nothing new, and thanks to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it now is easier than ever. If you have never heard of Bitcoin and similar digital currencies, you should research them and also alert your attorney to their existence. (S)he needs to add them to the possible ways in which your spouse could be hiding assets

Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies are currencies, but not money as that word is commonly understood. They are virtual money that exists in "wallets" such as a file stored on a computer, external hard drive, thumb drive, smartphone or online in the cloud. They are easy to buy, easy to sell and easy to use in payment for an ever-growing number of goods and services. They also are easy to get out of the country since a person can have multiple wallets, some of which are not in the United States.

Cryptocurrency names

Invented in 2008, Bitcoin is the most well-known and popular cryptocurrency. However, there are several additional kinds, including the following:

  • Ethereum
  • Litecoin
  • Ripple
  • Monero

New digital currencies come and go and the value of all cryptocurrencies fluctuates from day to day, sometimes hour to hour. In some ways they are like a stock in that anything can happen. Some investors "make a killing" while others lose most or all of their investment.

The downside of cryptocurrencies

While few, if any, digital currencies are 100 percent anonymous, all are pseudonymous. What this means is that a person does not need to use his or her real name or give any personal identification in order to buy, sell or trade them. Theoretically, all U.S. Bitcoin accounts must be linked to the owner's bank account or credit or debit card, but cash-for-Bitcoin trade opportunities are not difficult to find.

Not surprisingly, asset-hiding spouses are not the only people who love Bitcoin, et al. So do money launderers, particularly drug dealers, darknet marketeers, ransomware scammers and other cybercriminals. Since cryptocurrencies are virtual money, they leave no paper trails and their virtual trails are difficult if not impossible to find and follow.

If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets but you and your attorney have yet to discover what, where and how, this is a strong indication that your spouse may have one or more Bitcoin accounts and/or wallets. Now that you know what to ask about in interrogatories, production of document requests and depositions, you are more likely to find them.

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With so many factors to consider, we understand that you have questions about the challenges ahead and the options available. We are here to answer any questions you may have about divorce and other family law matters. We have been representing clients throughout the greater Las Vegas area for over two decades, our Henderson family law attorneys are ready to provide you with the open and honest family law counsel you need to move forward with your life. Contact us today to find out more.

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