In 2021 the value of cryptocurrecy reportedly reached $2 trillion. In the same year CNBC reported that 20 million Americans owned some kind of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, and many it seems are tempted to use this form of asset to hide money during divorce.

It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that this level of digital currency ownership is being replicated across the globe, including in the UK.

This new class of asset has implications for the economy as a whole and for the investment markets. More particularly it’s something that divorcing spouses must take into account when agreeing a financial settlement. Is one spouse hiding cryptocurrency assets so that they fall outside any financial settlement? Has one party begun to invest in digital assets as a way of reducing the financial pot available for division? And if there are hidden digital assets how do divorce lawyers like Brookman go about tracking them down?

We’ll consider these issues below.

What Is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is money that exists digitally or virtually. Bitcoin – first released in 2009 – is probably the best-known but there are now over 4,000 types of cryptocurrency.

Usually, cryptocurrency digital files are created using what’s known as cryptography – a secure communication technique. Cryptocurrency transactions are kept safe by the use of digital signatures, allowing others to check the veracity of the transactions. One of the main attributes of cryptocurrency is that it falls outside the control of central governments. Instead the currency is controlled through a list of transactions (a ledger) that is shared by everyone. This is known as a ‘blockchain’.

Cryptocurrency And Divorce: Form E

In England and Wales couples wishing the court to determine their financial settlement must complete Form E. Completion of the form involves a comprehensive itemisation of each side’s assets. Even where the financial settlement is being agreed privately, Form E is a useful tool to help the parties understand the extent of financial disclosure needed to reach a fair and binding financial agreement. It is well established that assets like cryptocurrency must be disclosed on Form E in the same way as other assets like property, artwork and shares.

Non- Disclosure Of Cryptocurrency During Divorce Proceedings

In 2017 YouGov published results of a survey which suggested a third of individuals would hide assets during divorce (i.e. fail to disclose them in Form E) if they thought there wouldn’t be any repercussions. As we’ve said before failing to disclose assets is never a good idea. Firstly a settlement reached without full disclosure might be reopened years later and secondly if a judge is given the impression that there has not been full financial transparency he or she has a wide discretion to make any financial order they see fit in the circumstances.

Family lawyers are well used to unearthing hidden assets like traditional bank accounts and property. But the virtual nature of cryptocurrency presents those wishing to prove its existence with unique challenges. Tracking down cryptocurrency ‘wallets’ can be hugely expensive. A cursory examination of tax returns and bank statements may sometimes immediately reveal cryptocurrency ownership by one spouse. But it will often be necessary to  engage forensic accountants and other specialist investigators in the search for crypto assets. A spouse who suspects cryptocurrency is being hidden therefore has a calculation to make: Is the potential increase in a financial settlement sufficient to justify the risk and expense of trying to locate the cryptocurrency in the first place?

This calculation by a spouse seeking to unearth cryptocurrency is complicated by the intrinsically volatile nature of cryptocurrency. Rapid and dramatic fluctuations in value mean it can be difficult to ascribe a value to the crypto asset for the purposes of including it in any financial settlement calculation.

Contact Us

At Brookman we have extensive experience of all aspects of financial settlements during divorce. This includes managing contentious cases where one spouse may attempt to hide certain classes of assets like cryptocurrency. To discuss how we can assist you please call us on 44 (0) 20 7430 8470 or contact us online. We provide a free, initial consultation.

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

From my first contact with the firm I was treated courteously and promptly. I was offered a pro bono meeting shortly after making contact. Mr Brookman is clearly a very experienced professional and in our meeting he gave me some well considered and objective advice about my rather complicated situation which spans more than one jurisdiction.

May 2022   Julian Peachey

I had an initial consultation with Henry Brookman regarding prenuptial agreements and found him to be very helpful and knowledgeable.

Mar 2022   Simon Brooks

I had a free telephone consultation yesterday with Gavin Yeung. He could not have been more helpful and reassuring as he calmly and patiently worked through my situation to provide me with clarity and piece of mind at a time it was really needed and emotions are running high.

Mar 2022   'K M'

I spoke with Aziz at Brookman Solicitors on the phone for an initial consultation and he is one of the friendliest lawyers I have met. He is clearly very experienced as he patiently explained me all the concepts and processes which are quite daunting for someone in my situation, and then focused on the actual questions I wanted to ask... I would highly recommend Aziz and Brookman Solicitors.

Feb 2022   'R'

I am grateful for Henry Brookman and his team for support they provided to me during very frustrating time of divorce. They respond promptly to any request. I felt more confident after I started the process with them. Henry listened carefully to me and took quick actions on my case. I highly recommend this team of real professionals even for non-UK citizens.

Feb 2022   Sezim Beksultanova

I had online consultation with the partner Henry Brookman today. I was very happy with the service. I found him to be very insightful, knowledgeable and provided sound advice, as well as being kind and patient. It was a very comfortable discussion and he sent an email detailing our discussion very quickly discussing in our meeting in depth. I am amazed by the service we got just from a free consultation. I would highly recommend these solicitors!

Jan 2022   Shirley Christopher

We spoke at length and at no point felt like he was rushing us and we felt very comfortable. After our discussion we were also quickly sent an email detailing everything we were discussing in our meeting in depth. I am amazed by the service we got just from a free consultation. I would highly recommend these solicitors!

Dec 2021   Tina

I was fortunate to spend an hour running through a few questions with Natasha Slabas. She was quick to grasp the points raised and proposed a sensible way forward. Would recommend

Dec 2021   Nick Powell

I cannot praise the professionalism and courtesy too highly. The advice given in a very complex divorce matter, was clear, concise, enlightening and inspiring.

Nov 2021   Mary Barn

I contacted Henry Brookman because of the complex international aspect of my divorce and I’m very glad I did... Henry took his time explaining all the pro’s and contra’s... I now have a much clearer view over the situation and feel more confident going forward. I’m very grateful for the excellent advice I’ve received and not feeling rushed during the meeting.

Nov 2021   'A B'

Talitha offers sound advice, asks the right questions and advises you with what you need to know not just what you want to hear. I have no hesitation in recommending her services.

Sep 2021   Anu Vidyarthi

Henry took the time to go through all the details of my separation thoroughly. He was very clear on what my options were and what I needed to do to have a seamless agreement with my ex. Thank you for all your help!

Aug 2021   Sandeep Cina

Talitha provided a free consultation and could not have been more helpful. Her guidance was pragmatic and she managed my expectations both on costs and the process. Talitha offered practical advice to find a solution that could avoid going to court.

Aug 2021   Richard Doyle

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470