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What happens to stock options in a divorce?

For the high-asset divorces, asset division can quickly become a complex and highly specialized task.. The division of a business as a marital property may require lengthy valuation assessments related to shareholder equity or stockholder equity before you can even consider the distribution options. Nevertheless, experienced matrimonial litigators have the skills and experience to assist clients with even the most complex of asset divisions, including where the marital property includes stock options.

The basics of high-value stock option division

One of the trickier assets to divide and distribute is stock options, a common high-value asset amongst corporate executives and longstanding employees, especially prevalent in the tech industry.

Here are some of the considerations you need to keep in mind when dealing with these kinds of marital assets:

  • If a company granted the stock options in question during the marriage, these stocks could be considered marital property, making it subject to division.
  • Some companies award stock options as incentives for future performance goals or achievement metrics. The circumstances surrounding this stock option could become critical in the delineation of marital property.
  • When it comes to vested stock options, the status of whether the employee has control of the options, or if they are still in the vesting period, could affect the division of that stock in a divorce.
  • Due to the intricate nature of dividing stock options, a spouse should always consider determining the current value of the stocks and present several scenarios for offsetting the value of these unvested stocks in the asset distribution.

Exploring your options for a fair asset distribution

A divorce is an emotionally challenging time in your life that is made more difficult by the strain of assessing your marital property and deciding on a particular settlement. If you’re considering getting a divorce, and you and your spouse have a complex asset portfolio, it is crucial that you contact an attorney with experience in C-suite or executive level divorces – such as the attorneys at Bahian P.C. – to guide you through this complicated process.

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