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DuPage County family law attorneyIf you are like many, you have only recently heard of the term “cryptocurrency” and may be unfamiliar as to what it actually is. Cryptocurrency simply refers to a digital asset which is used as a medium of exchange. The “crypt” part of the word refers to the encryption techniques used to secure the transaction. Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular because they are difficult to counterfeit and use peer-to-peer, decentralized networks for transactions. Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency but hundreds more, including Litecoin and Ethereum, exist. One of cryptocurrencies’ main appeals is that they can be purchased and sold online. Cryptocurrencies can also be moved offline to a hardware device.

Cryptocurrency Can Be Hard to Value and Track

If you are getting divorced and you or your spouse have invested in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, you should know that cryptocurrency is treated like any other asset acquired by spouses during marriage. In Illinois, property accumulated during the marriage is subject to division through equitable distribution. The increase in popularity of cryptocurrencies represents a challenge to divorce attorneys and judges presiding over divorce cases. Unlike other forms of property, there can be serious difficulties tracking and valuing cryptocurrency.

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Posted on in Division of Assets

Naperville divorce attorneyIn some states, divorcing spouses are entitled to an equal share of their “community property.” This, however, is not the case in Illinois. Illinois and 40 other states are considered “equitable distribution” states, which means that the marital property of a divorcing couple must be divided fairly between the spouses, not necessarily equally. While determining what is fair can be quite complicated, the process begins with identifying what property is considered marital and what is considered non-marital for the purposes of the divorce.

Illinois Law

Most of the statutes that govern the divorce process in Illinois are contained in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The IMDMA expressly defines marital property as “all property, including debts and other obligations, acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage” with several important exceptions. These exceptions include but are not limited to:

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DuPage County family law attorneyOne of the most complex and time-consuming parts of any divorce proceeding is the division of marital property. It can get even worse when marital and non-marital property are considered to be mixed. In order to reach a fair and equitable distribution of assets, a court must determine whether property has been commingled or not, and if so, to what extent.

Commingling Assets in Illinois

Commingling is defined as the act of mixing funds belonging to one person with funds belonging to another, especially when there is a responsibility to keep them separate. Sometimes, commingling funds is actually illegal or unethical, though spouses commingling marital and non-marital property is not. Marital property is any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, while non-marital property is anything owned before the marriage by either spouse, or a gift or inheritance received by one spouse at any time (before or during the marriage). When the two meet, the status of the resulting property depends on which is the prime mover, so to speak.

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