In a family law settlement, the couple must exchange all relevant information about their assets and liabilities and financial resources, which is called the “disclosure obligation”.   

A financial resource is something that a party has a financial interest in but doesn’t control or have the power (usually) to deal with, such as a beneficiary of a family trust. 

Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is something that a person who has a holding of it owns. Knowing whether to cash it in when a financial settlement must occur or to share it with the other party will be difficult to decide. 

That is because cryptocurrency is highly speculative, that is, it might be worth a great deal one day, then much less the next and then up and down again. 

Bowen Buchbinder Vilensky’s experienced team of family lawyers in Perth would not advise you whether you should sell the currency or share it with the other party at settlement.  That is because lawyers are not financial advisors.  

For our clients, a practical outcome will be sought.  In some cases, sharing the asset might be the best result, reflecting the old words of the marriage vows, that a couple is to share “for better or for worse”. 

The disclosure obligation in family law is serious.  If one party to the relationship fails to give full disclosure, the outcome in a trial might be that the judicial officer increases the share the other party is to get, to consider what is missing by guessing what it might have been. For cryptocurrency, the shares in the currency might be worth $20,000 one week, and $5,000 the next.  The judicial officer might decide to take the higher amount as the amount that should be considered.  

An aspect of family law settlement that underlines the uncertainty of outcomes is that while the Court deals with the assets liabilities and financial resources as they are, the court also must speculate about what the future holds for each party, part of the discretionary aspect of family law that makes it difficult to predict and advise about. 

So, while the capital assets the parties have, is split up based on what they are worth at the time of settlement, like the photo finish at a horse race, the court also considers the future earning capacity of the parties and their responsibilities as separate individuals for themselves and others. 

Understanding family law is complex; our family lawyers have great experience and work hard to stay up to date with the ongoing changes in law and practice that happen.  We build a personal relationship with our clients and seek outcomes that best meet their particular needs and expectations.

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