Divorce and the division of Crypto Currency.

In Northern Ireland divorcing couples must make full and frank discovery of all financial documentation held by each of them. This may include savings, investments, premium bonds, ISAs and, in these times, bitcoin and crypto currency. In recent weeks bitcoin and crypto currency prices have fluctuated.

What if one party suspects that his/her spouse owns crypto currencies?

It can be difficult to prove that your spouse owns crypto-currency. Crypto currencies, such as bitcoin, are held in digital wallets which create “addresses”. They record transactions but they are not logged under individual names. The blockchain (a database with blocks of information chained together – “a ledger”) records all transactions that are made in bitcoin, including which addresses they came from and went to. If you are able to find the transaction which includes a bitcoin address, or the digital wallet, and can link it to your spouse, then it is possible to trace their transactions through the blockchain ledger.

If this cannot be found, then bank statements or PayPal accounts may have to be analysed for evidence of transactions. and one would then be able to link the crypto currency to the name and address.

How are crypto-currencies valued for the purposes of division of assets?

Crypto currencies are treated in the same way as bank accounts or off-shore accounts but, given the rapidly fluctuating valuations of these currencies, they can create difficulties in negotiations.

A suitably qualified expert may need to be appointed to quantify the value of the crypto-currency but, like shares being divided up, the price may go up as well as down.

If you require any matrimonial law advice please contact Enda Lavery on 02890329801.