Photo of Julia M. Pendleton

Thoughtful Advice Combined With Strong Representation

Understanding financial holdings and assets

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2022 | Family Law |

Divorce is often complicated, but the process can be even more stressful if you’re divorcing a millionaire. There are several assets to consider, and you’ll have to gain a clear understanding of financial holdings to make sure you receive the money you’re entitled to. Here are some additional factors to keep in mind if you’re getting a high-asset divorce in North Carolina.

Stock options

Employers will sometimes give their workers the option of purchasing company stock in the future based on the current stock price. In a high-asset divorce, stock options may come into question since the non-working spouse could be entitled to a percentage. Both stock options and restricted stocks have a vesting period. This means that the employee may not be able to access the stock for a period of time, usually between one and five years. For example, back in 2016, Amazon employees who received stock options had a five-year vesting period, which means they can exercise their options now.

Restricted stock awards and units

Restricted stock awards are even more common than stock options. Restricted awards do have some limits. You can sell the stocks when you receive them, but you have to wait until the shares vest. If you leave the company that offered the stock awards before the vesting period is over, you give up your rights to the stock. It’s important to keep up with the vesting period if you’re facing a high-asset divorce so that you’ll know whether your ex-spouse is eligible to receive part of the stock investment.

In most cases, the employee spouse has to keep the stocks in a trust so that the non-employee spouse can benefit from the profits. Once the vesting period arrives, the value of the stock is taxable at the ordinary income tax rate. It’s important to keep these factors in mind before starting the divorce process.