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Hidden assets and the electronic age

It is natural to want to see fairness and justice prevail. When couples divorce, it can be common for emotions to spiral out of control, skewing one's view of what fairness looks like. The community property assessment may become a battleground where California residents can find that spouses are devious – or desperate – enough to create hidden assets.

If one suspects that this could happen, it is important to gather all evidence of assets owned by one's spouse. Art, stocks and investments can be traced as they are transferred or sold in order to hide their existence. However, Bitcoin, known as a cryptocurrency, may be one way in which assets may be transformed into something that is harder to trace.

Using this method carries a lot of risk, since the value of Bitcoin is volatile to say the least. In addition, it does not change the fact that one owns assets, and lying in court about what and how much one owns is a criminal offence. If one does this, or fails to provide the pertinent information following an order from the court, it can result in jail time or in a lesser share of the assets.

California residents who suspect that hidden assets are a possibility may need to employ the services of forensic accountants. This is perhaps more likely a necessity in a divorce with a high net worth; however, it is still worth bearing in mind that an angry spouse may lose his or her sense of perspective and fair play. When dealing with divorce, the best way to proceed is with an honest and equitable frame of mind, both to smooth the way and to keep dealings above board.

Source:, "With Bitcoin, Hiding Assets in Divorce Is Risky, But It Pays", Charlie McCombie, May 11, 2016

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