DIVORCE AND BITCOIN IN ITALY: An Unexpected Asset to Hide

The Judicial Recognition of the Italian Citizenship.
January 15, 2024
The Judicial Recognition of the Italian Citizenship.
January 15, 2024
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DIVORCE AND BITCOIN IN ITALY: An Unexpected Asset to Hide

by Trey Haskins,

University of Arkansas Undergraduate -Intern at The Family Law Italy Treyhaskins1@gmail.com

Divorce proceedings are a stressful time and unfortunately, the consequences of the financial implications of a divorce can be far-reaching and long-lasting. So it is not surprising that some people attempt to use a variety of ways to hide assets during a divorce. Recently, Bitcoin has been one such asset that has enabled spouses to conceal financial resources from their estranged partner.

Bitcoin is a digital currency, or cryptocurrency, created and held electronically on a decentralized public ledger. It is the world’s first decentralized digital currency, created in 2009 by a person or group of people using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin is transferred directly between users, with no need for a middleman, and is extremely secure and difficult to counterfeit. In order to purchase bitcoin, one must use a digital payment processor, such as PayPal, to exchange other currencies for bitcoin. Bitcoin can also be converted into other currencies such as US dollars and Euros. As a result, Bitcoin is often used as a way to shield assets in the event of a divorce.[3]

A case study of this exact issue recently made news headlines when a married couple in the United States went through a divorce proceeding. It was reported that a housewife discovered her husband had held Bitcoins which he had not included in their divorce settlement. The husband had reportedly bought the digital asset in 2011 and stored it in digital wallets.[1]

This case has highlighted the risks associated with Bitcoin and other digital assets. As Bitcoin is not a physical asset, it may be difficult to track down all a partner’s digital assets in a divorce proceeding. Certain means of finding out one’s partner’s digital assets could be implemented in order to detect any potential discrepancies. For example, a forensic accountant could investigate the digital history and activity of a partner in order to assess if there is evidence of any digital asset individuals might have excluded from the settlement.

Signs to look for that your spouse is hiding crypto:

●    Secretive Behavior with Finances.

●    Sudden increase in computer/online activity

●    Presence Crypto Exchanges in Apps.

●    Crypto Wallets and Private Keys.

●    Bank and Credit Statements.

●    Large Online Purchases.

●    Loan Applications & Tax Returns.


Hiding assets during a divorce in Italy may have serious consequences. Under Italian Divorce Law, any assets hidden during the course of a divorce proceeding can be considered by the court to be fraudulent if proven. The consequences could include the entire hidden asset being granted to your partner as well as potential fines and penalties from the court. In addition, depending on how the assets were hidden, you may be subject to prosecution on criminal charges. [4]

Final thoughts

If you know or suspect that cryptocurrency will be a part of your divorce it’s important to talk to your family law attorney immediately and put together a plan of action for dealing with it.

  1. Vensel, Ephrat. “Housewife Finds Husband’s Bitcoin Stash Amid Divorce Proceedings.” Cointelegraph, 29 Jan. 2019, cointelegraph.com/news/housewife-finds-husband-s-bitcoin-stash-amid-divorce-proceedings
  2. Masters Law Group. (2020, August 21). Top 6 Signs Your Spouse Is Hiding Crypto. Retrieved December 11, 2020, from https://www.masters-lawgroup.com/news/top-6-signs-your-spouse-is-hiding-crypto/
  3. Gogia, R. (2020, August 14). What Is Bitcoin And How Does It Work?. Forbes Advisor. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/advisor/in/investing/cryptocurrency/what-is-bitcoin-and-how-does-it-work/
  4. Law No.898/1970, December 1, 1970, subsequently amended by Law No. 151, May 19, 1975, and Law No. 74, March 6, 1987.

Divorce Proceedings in Italy: Domestic and International Procedures on JSTOR

The Family Law Italy, is a boutique International Family Law firm, located in Rome, Italy.

website www.familylawitaly.com +39068075014 m.calabrese@familylawitaly.com

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