Burra Robinson Family Lawyers (https://www.brfamilylaw.com.au/ ) are aware of the complexity of crypto money, especially if a divorcing spouse excluded it in the settlement. Most family lawyers find such claims contentious due to the confidential nature of the blockchain ledger used for the digital system.
Australian Family Court Considers Crypto Assets as Marital Property Unless Proven Otherwise
The Family Law Act (FLA)1975 of Australia, emphasises the need to ensure fair and equitable division of the conjugal assets. Under the FLA, the spouse claiming that the crypto asset came into his or her possession prior to marriage, must show ample proof pertaining to such claim. After all, only the dissenting spouse can access the encryptions that provide information when the cryptocurrencies were purchased. Otherwise, refusal to disclose such information denotes withholding critical information that can affect the fair and equitable division of the entire marital estate. The magistrate in Australia’s Family Court considers it unfavourable if a spouse deliberately withholds information about marital assets in divorce proceedings. The Family Court has the power to pass judgement and impose penalty on the spouse who refuses to declare or disclose info related to the digital asset excluded as part of the marital estate.
Such complexity could have been eliminated if the spouse had declared and clarified ownership of the crypto asset in a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) if any was entered into by the divorcing couple.
Valuation of Cryptocurrencies in a Divorce Proceeding
It’s a well-known fact that cryptocurrencies are volatile financial instruments. This means their value tends to fluctuate any time when there is a shift in the levels of demand and supply. A spouse cannot simply claim that his or her digital assets increased in value as a result of the volatile price indices throughout the years.
As mentioned earlier, all information about cryptocurrencies are encrypted and kept secure by private cryptographic keys held by the spouse claiming sole ownership. If so, the latter must show proof of the value of the crypto money at the time when it was purchased prior to marriage, up to the time the digital money increased in value during marriage. Again, proof must be presented to support statements that there was no additional purchase of crypto money using the commingled funds acquired during marriage.
There should be no attempt to hide the true value of crypto assets or try to transfer the assets in another account. Although the blockchain ledger uses mathematical techniques and special algorithms as encryptions, the data contained therein are information about the trades and transfers of the crypto money.
The set of encryptions are linked data originating from the time the cryptocurrency was originally purchased from a crypto exchange platform. The Australian Family Court can always designate a blockchain expert to decipher the encryptions related to the crypto asset in contention, to make sure there is fair and equitable distribution of marital assets.