Family Law Case Review
Wohlt v. Wohlt (October 27, 2023) (Omitted Asset Case)
HELD: A divorce Property Settlement Agreement awarded Husband all assets of the parties’ business, except for specific computer equipment awarded to Wife. It was later discovered that the business owned certain cryptocurrency that both parties forgot about. The language in the PSA that awarded Husband “all assets” of the business operated unambiguously to award Husband the cryptocurrency.
FACTS & PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Husband and Wife married in 2007. During the marriage, they operated Echo Systems (“Echo”), a cryptocurrency mining and trading company. Wife was the CFO of Echo, and Echo was owned in her name.
In 2015, Wife filed her petition for dissolution of marriage. Wife did not pursue formal discovery. The parties participated in mediation, which successfully resulted in a Property Settlement Agreement. Importantly, in the PSA, the parties agreed that Echo would be closed and that “Husband shall retain all assets of the business, except for the following items: Wife’s Mac computer and printer, iPhone, iPad, and laptop.” The PSA also included discovery waivers and standard language about each party having all information needed to settle the case.
After the divorce was finalized with the PSA, Husband found various cryptocurrency on a former Echo computer. Husband alerted his counsel of this development, who shared the discovery with Wife’s counsel. Wife filed a motion to divide an “omitted asset.”
Husband sought summary judgment that the language in the PSA that awarded him the assets of Echo was sufficient, by extension, to award him the cryptocurrency he uncovered on a former Echo computer. The trial court denied summary judgment, and later issued an order dividing the value of the discovered cryptocurrency equally between the parties. Husband appealed.
The Court of Appeals concluded that the PSA unambiguously awarded “all assets” of Echo to Husband which, by extension, included the cryptocurrency. “We find that this provision of the PSA unambiguously means that every asset owned by Echo would be awarded to Husband, apart from the five specifically listed items awarded to Wife.” The Court also found it significant that the PSA recited that the parties were entering into the agreement having waived rights to discovery.
The trial court’s order dividing the cryptocurrency was reversed, and summary judgment was entered in Husband’s favor.
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