Question: My wife and I are definitely getting a divorce. I want to know from a local divorce lawyer what will happen to my Bitcoins when we get divorced, because they've become valuable. I've been buying Bitcoin for about two years and its gone way up in value. I want to know how much of the Bitcoin I can keep and if she'll get any of it. I need a divorce attorney who has worked with Bitcoin.
She was never interested in investing in stocks or bonds and even thought buying cryptocurrencies was a dumb idea. She thought only criminals would use cryptocurrencies.
She thought I should use the money for a new car or to buy clothes or jewelry. But I didn't listen to her and I've been buying Bitcoin for the past two years; I even bought it when it was down in value. I thought it would become popular and useful for everyone, not just among drug dealers and other criminals. I thought people would start using it and it would be a good investment. Now major companies like Microsoft, Subway, Dish Network, Reddit, and OkCupid accept Bitcoin.
I was right and its price has gone way up. Now it's worth a lot of money and I still have a lot of my Bitcoins. I know my wife will try getting as much as she can in the divorce because she likes to shop. And she doesn't even work. She never has since she graduated from college at Georgia State University. We just got married because she got pregnant with our daughter, who has a learning disability and mental issues.
Now she says she was the one who wanted me to buy Bitcoin and she always thought it would be a great investment. But that's not true at all. She never cared about Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies at all. All she liked to do was watch T.V. and drink her wine and beer and smoke pot with her friends.
Now I need to know what will happen to my Bitcoins if we get divorced. How will a judge divide them up between us? Do I even have to tell her about the Bitcoins?
A.J. in Woodstock, GA
Answer: Under Georgia law, all assets must be disclosed by both parties when getting a divorce. Since Bitcoins are assets because they have financial value (like stocks, bonds, cash, collectibles, real estate, etc.), they must be disclosed when getting divorced.
A judge has discretion to divide the Bitcoins during a divorce. Most likely, a judge will usually divide the Bitcoins roughly evenly between the two parties. However, the division of the cryptocurrency can be negotiated by the parties.
We have handled a number of divorces with Bitcoins involved (as well as other cryptocurrencies like Litecoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Monero, and Dash) and the cryptocurrency has been used when negotiating issues like child support and alimony, and to buy-out the other party's equity in the marital home.
As Bitcoin gains popularity, it will certainly play an increasing role in divorce proceedings.