Board Certified
Family Law Specialists
Serving Northern California

Handling stock options earned by your spouse in a divorce

| Jun 24, 2020 | Complex Property Division |

The family courts in California do their best to find fair ways to split up the assets and debts a couple acquires through the course of their marriage. However, there are certain assets that can be more difficult and complex to divide up at the end of a marriage.

For example, if your spouse has received deferred compensation from their employer, such as stock options, it may not be possible to liquidate those assets in order to share them. More importantly, it can be difficult to put a fair value on those assets in order to request an appropriate portion of them in the divorce.

There are several ways a handle stock options and deferred compensation

There are a number of factors that can influence the best way for you to value and divide stock options from a spouse’s employer in a pending divorce. If you do not share children and would like to walk away from your marriage with a clean break, then establishing the current market value of stock options or other non-liquid deferred compensation from an employer can be the quickest way to determine the value of your share.

However, putting a price on future compensation via stocks that have not been vested yet is a bit more complex. Your ex might never receive that value, or their worth could increase significantly over the next few years if the company becomes more successful. You may need to research the company and negotiate in order to secure a fair share of the value of unpaid but owed future compensation like stock options.

Complex assets can quickly complicate divorces

Higher overall assets and more complex assets can quickly make a divorce more difficult for everyone involved. From the difficulty involved in establishing a fair price for assets that may accrue more value over time to interpreting your situation and determining what is fair and reasonable, there can be a lot involved in ensuring a fair outcome to high asset divorces with complex assets.

Learning about your rights, including the right to a share of all income and assets acquired during the marriage in most circumstances, can help you push for the best possible outcome in your pending California divorce.