California residents know that a divorce can be complicated, both emotionally and financially. While it means the end of a relationship that just did not work, starting over and letting go of previous life plans can be very difficult. Additionally, the division of a couple’s assets can bring even more conflict into the situation. When the couple also owns bitcoins, this division can become even messier.

While physical assets, such as a home, a car and even bank accounts, can be easily identified, valued and then considered for division, bitcoins are virtual and harder to track. During a divorce and the period leading up to it, those who have earned the bitcoin might choose to hide it away from their spouse by supposedly gifting it out to a friend or claiming they lost it to a scam or gambled it away. It would then be very difficult for the other party to disprove this.

Other complications that the ownership of bitcoins can bring to divorce negotiations include the question of the worth of the bitcoins and what part would actually go to the other spouse in case the bitcoin were to be split fairly. This includes how the value of the bitcoin would be calculated, such as at the price the person bought the bitcoin for or at the current market value and how the other spouse could be compensated, through a lump sum or a certain percentage interest in the gains the bitcoin makes over the next few years.

People who are going through a divorce might benefit from the information and guidance a family law attorney can provide. Legal counsel can often take the lead in negotiating an overall settlement agreement with the other party.