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Can a divorce settlement take into account virtual assets?

| Dec 14, 2019 | Firm News |

An Oregon family court judge will divide all marital assets and property fairly between a couple, including virtual currencies. Under the state’s equitable distribution system, both individuals may claim their fair share of any asset acquired during a marriage, unless an agreement specifies otherwise.

You may receive a portion of the value of your spouse’s virtual assets if he or she acquired them with funds that are part of your household income. This generally includes the money earned from each spouse’s job, a family business or investments made during your marriage. When a spouse acquires virtual assets through a gift or an inheritance, however, you might not have a legal right to receive any portion of its value.

Reports suggest that many individuals attempt to conceal their ownership of virtual currencies, and a divorce may require full disclosure in order for a judge to determine the value of your fair share. According to Bankrate, there were only an estimated 5% of Americans holding virtual currencies in 2018; this number, however, may increase to 21% with the surge in the asset’s popularity. If you suspect your spouse holds virtual assets, you may consider discussing the issue before the discovery phase of the divorce process.

Virtual currencies typically trade through an online blockchain with each transaction recorded in an electronic ledger. Although encryption accompanies each transfer, determining the individual behind an anonymous trade is not impossible. When a soon-to-be ex-spouse attempts to conceal any of his or her assets, virtual or otherwise, you may still exercise your legal rights to receive its fair value during the divorce process.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and not intended as legal advice.