Cryptocurrency (including the popular Bitcoin) has been a popular source of headlines over the last couple of years, mostly in relation to the ups and downs in the valuation of BitCoin, the most well-known cryptocurrency. In addition to conversations about the value of BitCoin, there has also been news about how and if cryptocurrency should be regulated in Canada. But the courts are also taking part in these discussions that are helping to define cryptocurrency’s place in Canada. In a recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the court was asked whether a father’s cryptocurrency holdings should be included when calculating his child support payments.

The family’s history

The mother and father began living together in 1994. The father already had a child, who resided with them. They had a child together in 1995, separating two years later. They consented to an interim order in 1997, which required the father to pay the mother $1,200 per month in child support. They appeared in court a few times over the next ten years, mostly for applications related to the father’s access to the child.  At the time of the hearing, the daughter was still enrolled in post-secondary education.

In 2017 the mother realized that the father was worth “millions of dollars” thanks to his cryptocurrency holdings. As a result of this discovery, the mother made a number of financial disclosure requests. At the time of the trial, the mother’s only income was the $1,200 in child support she received each month from the father. She claimed she relied on her savings and income from her partner to get by.

The father, meanwhile, owns a business and reported income of around a quarter-million dollars in 2015 and 2016, with over $3 million in income in 2017 following his liquidation of capital. However, the mother’s application asked that the court reassess child support with the father’s cryptocurrency holdings and particularly the interest they earn taken into account.

The father’s position

The father provided financial disclosure in August 2018 where he stated having $18 million in cryptocurrency. However, he cautioned the court about forcing him to expose all of the information of his cryptocurrency since it would make him susceptible to people who may look to steal it. He also told the court that financial statements that could be provided for traditional bank accounts could not be produced for cryptocurrency.

The court responded by ordering the father to work with a financial expert (at his expense) in order to determine how much income he really had in order to recalculate child support. He was also ordered to produce a redacted financial statement to the mother, with any information that could leave him exposed to criminals redacted. In the meantime, the court ordered him to pay $25,000 as an interim payment to the mother.

The experienced team at Borden Family Law has been helping clients with all matters of family law, including child support, for more than 18 years. We do everything we can to ensure your children are properly taken care of following the end of the relationship between you and the child’s other parent. We have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you come to the most optimal arrangement for yourself and your children. Call us at 905-576-6090, or contact us online. Ask about our bundled services and flat fees.