How Does Cryptocurrency Work In A Florida Divorce Case?
Since the birth of the industry with the launch of Bitcoin in 2009, cryptocurrency has grown to a global market capitalization of $2.21 trillion according to December 2021 figures. Additional industry statistics indicate that approximately one-third of small businesses in the US accept this form of electronic payment and 27 percent of Americans approve of making it legal tender. With a growth rate of almost 50 percent through 2030, there are some interesting trends ahead for those who choose to invest in crypto.
Bitcoin is a hot topic from the standpoint of investments, but there is one aspect that you might not have considered: How cryptocurrency works in a Florida divorce. Some may be surprised about how the laws work, so it is smart to consult with a Dade City property division attorney who can go into detail on the following points:
Florida’s Default Rule on Property Division
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency may be a new, unique type of asset, but state laws on property division are flexible enough to apply. According to the statute, all assets acquired by the spouses after the wedding date are considered marital property. These assets are subject to equitable distribution, which means dividing them up between the parties in a fair way. Anything a party owned prior to the marriage remains separate, and gifts and inheritances are typically not marital assets.
Crypto has become a significant investment opportunity, though the value can fluctuate considerably. Some investors have dramatically increased their wealth, so owning Bitcoin complicates the divorce process.
Bitcoin in a Prenuptial Agreement
Knowing how cryptocurrency is treated in Florida divorce, you can see the advantages of including this type of asset in a prenuptial agreement. To be valid, your prenup must:
- Be in a writing signed voluntarily by both parties;
- Include proper notarization of your signatures; and
- Be validated by the parties’ marriage.
Note that a court will not enforce an extremely unfair prenuptial agreement as unconscionable.
Cryptocurrency is Easy to Conceal
As a digital asset, Bitcoin ownership can be difficult to detect and track. The lack of a traditional “paper trail” makes it easy to conceal, so this factor lends itself to misconduct. A spouse may be motivated to conceal crypto, thereby excluding it from the marital estate. When the court does not have the full picture, property division will not be fair and equitable.
Fortunately, there are tools for gaining access to Bitcoin ownership details through Florida discovery laws. A party who engages in such misconduct might face penalties and be forced to pay the other’s legal fees.
A Florida Property Division Lawyer Can Advise You on Handling Cryptocurrency
At The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane, our team follows trends and stays up to date on the different issues that impact Florida divorce cases. Bitcoin and crypto are here to stay, and the concepts could impact your rights. Please contact us at 352-567-0055 or via our website to set up a consultation. We can meet with you at our Dade City office to discuss details.