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Secret crypto holdings are becoming an increasingly common conflict in divorces, attorneys say - BUSINESS INSIDER

MAY 20, 2023

  • Cryptocurrency is complicating an increasing amount of divorces, a new report from CNBC says.

  • Divorce attorneys told the outlet it is also becoming common for people to hide crypto from their partner.

  • One woman said she learned her husband was hiding bitcoin then worth about $500,000 during their divorce.

Conflict over ownership of cryptocurrency — especially crypto that has been kept secret by a spouse from their partner — is reportedly becoming an increasingly common trend divorce attorneys are spotting in their cases.

Financial infidelity involving secret crypto holdings have made the jobs of financial advisors and divorce attorneys increasingly complex in recent years as the crypto market has expanded, according to a CNBC article.

The attorneys in Florida, Texas, New York, and California told CNBC that crypto now plays a role in roughly 20% to 50% of divorces they handle, since it has become a more popular investment in recent years.

The attorneys and advisors are meeting more and more clients where one person has invested hundreds of thousands, or millions, of dollars in crypto without telling their partner, CNBC said.

In certain complicated cases, some investigators told CNBC one spouse was trying to hide the money by transferring their cryptocurrency across several different coins on several different blockchains to make it harder to track.

One divorcee told the outlet that she was surprised to learn during her divorce that her then-husband, who earned at least $3 million per year, had very few assets that could be split in the divorce.

After months of help from a forensic accountant, the woman discovered an undisclosed crypto wallet held by her then-husband with 12 bitcoins, at the time worth about $500,000, and currently worth just over $324,000 as of Saturday's latest bitcoin price. She told CNBC it was a "shock" to learn about the secret investments, but her story appears to be a part of a growing trend.

"The thing with cryptocurrency is it's not regulated by any kind of centralized bank, so usually you can't subpoena somebody and get documents and information related to somebody's cryptocurrency holdings," Texas divorce attorney Kelly Burris told CNBC.

Even when a couple is transparent about their investments, the exceptionally volatile nature of cryptocurrencies can complicate a divorce because of how quickly its value can change.


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