EP 171: Bitcoin, Digital and Virtual Assets in Divorce

What happens if you are going through a divorce and have digital assets? Digital assets can come in many forms. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are popular topics in the news lately, but there are other forms of digital assets like your music library, ebooks, rewards points, or even a website you own. When it comes to digital assets, state laws have not yet caught up. Many of these assets are relatively new, and the laws cannot always address all the complexities of splitting them. In addition, there are often unique elements about digital assets that make it difficult to know their value and how to split them.

This episode will give you some steps to take if you have any kind of digital assets.

  1. Figure out if you have any digital assets.
  2. Determine what is marital versus separate property.
  3. Figure out what you can realistically do with those digital assets.

Digital assets can be hard to find. In some cases, it may even be hard to realize that you have them. Some of you may have an online business, like this podcast.

You may have a blog, an ebook, or Bitcoin. Digital assets are just data. Since they are intangible, it can be challenging to identify them. Think about what assets you may have. Most of you probably have some kind of rewards points, such as a hotel brand or airline rewards. These can often be translated to a dollar value.

Most of you have been married for a length of time, from several years to decades. In that case, the digital assets you have are likely marital property, especially if the assets are so new that your marriage predates them.

The nature of the digital asset and its value will be relevant. For example, you can determine a dollar value for your airline miles. The other spouse may end up getting a credit for those miles in the divorce negotiations. You may also opt to transfer the miles.

Some digital assets can be split relatively easily, such as Bitcoin, but you and your spouse could decide that one of you will keep the asset while the other receives the cash value of their portion.

Digital assets can be easy to hide, because they are intangible and there is often an element of anonymity. It is important to be aware of what digital assets you and your spouse have and address them in your divorce negotiations.

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