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Copyright (c) 2015 North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology, Online Edition. All Rights Reserved.
North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology, Online Edition

ARTICLE: A BIT-TER DIVORCE: USING BITCOIN TO HIDE MARITAL ASSETS

April, 2015

North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology, Online Edition

16 N.C. J.L. & Tech. On. 74

Author

Caline Hou *

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

Nearly one-third of individuals who combine their finances with their significant others have deceived their partner about money. 1 Over half of these individuals hid cash from their partners, 2 and over a third lied about finances, debt, or income. 3 As digital technology advances, hiding assets from a spouse may become even easier. Bank statements no longer come in the mail; instead, only individuals with an account holder's username and password can view e-statements online. Rather than stand in line at a bank in public, mobile phone users can transfer cash from one account to another using a mobile application. Bitcoin, a form of digital currency, is the latest technology that many family lawyers are concerned will help spouses hide money from their significant others. 4 Bitcoin's anonymity, combined with its capability for quick bitcoin transfers between wallets, makes hiding marital assets easier for spouses and thus helps to shield certain assets from being equitably distributed upon divorce. 5

Equitable distribution is the process of dividing marital property equitably, or fairly, when spouses divorce. 6 If spouses successfully hide assets, courts cannot consider these assets when determining a fair distribution of marital property. Thus, one spouse may obtain much less or much more property than is equitable.

This Recent Development explores how divorcing spouses can abuse Bitcoin to undermine North Carolina's statute governing equitable distribution, 7 and proposes that the best solution to avoid this abuse is to categorize ...
 
 
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