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Stock and stock options in property division agreements

Property division can be one of the most complex issues of a divorce even for couples who don't have a lot of assets. When you add restricted stock or stock options to the mix, it typically becomes even more complicated. Spouses in the midst of a divorce, or those who are considering one, should seek an education before signing property division agreements. This way, both parties are sure to get a fair share of all marital property.

For those not in the know about restricted stock and stock options, the first usually refers to company stock given to an employee free of charge as part of a compensation package; the second term refers to company stock provided to employees at a future date for a set price. Both can become a lucrative source of income under the right conditions, and both can become a point of contention between spouses during a divorce.

Unfortunately, some people don't know about their spouse's stock holdings making it difficult to carve out a share, but even for those that do, it's not always easy to receive a portion of these types of assets. According to a Forbes Magazine story, the best way to make sure one spouse receives a share of the other's stock is by learning everything possible about the stock. Once a divorcing spouse knows the value of what's at stake, he or she will have a better idea of how to achieve an equitable property division.

Property division is just one example of the complications that can arise when married couples break up. Some divorcing couples consider abandoning the process of dividing complex assets, but it's only fair that two people who worked to build a life together should come away from that life with enough money to start fresh. Lawyers who specialize in property division can offer a focused approach to the subject of marital property and perhaps help divorcing couples achieve an equitable division of assets.

Source: Forbes, "Dividing Stock Options And Restricted Stock In Divorce" Jeff Landers, Mar. 19, 2014

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