Over the past several years, an increasing number of my cases involve electronic accounts and/or currency. Electronic funds can take the form of funds held in a PayPal, eBay, or Venmo account. They can also be digital currency such as Bitcoin or Dogecoin.
Electronic funds in a Northern Virginia or District of Columbia divorce are generally marital property if acquired during the marriage. This can be the case even if they are only titled in your spouse’s name. Electronic funds should be part of the conversation in determining how to divide your assets in your divorce. However, these funds are notoriously difficult to track down, especially if your spouse is not forthcoming with the information.
If your spouse is not forthcoming, you must carefully review all bank records and credit card statements. Going back through your records for a few years will help ensure that you can account for all funds going in and out of your accounts. Additionally, you should review past tax returns to see if your returns reflect cryptocurrency (assuming it has been reported to the IRS).
If these methods do not work, not all is lost. If your case is litigated, you can obtain a Court Order to have a forensic expert go through your spouse’s computer. Or you can try to issue a subpoena for the records. These methods are not necessarily foolproof — they are expensive, and they require a lot of follow up. But, depending on the value of the crypto-asset, it might be worth it.
It is important to obtain as much information as you reasonably can on all your assets, including electronic assets. Once you obtain this information, you can then analyze and value it, ideally with the assistance of an experienced family law practitioner.
Emily Baker is a Senior Associate in FTLF’s Washington, DC and Northern Virginia offices. She frequently practices in DC, Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax, Virginia.