Stock Options in Divorce


If you are going through a divorce, you may be unsure on how to split the stock options of you or your spouse.  If you or your spouse is an employee of a company like Intel, Nike, Columbia Sportswear or any other large company in Oregon, the grant of a stock option may represent a significant asset in terms of your marital property.

Stock options are something an employer gives to an employee that allows an employee to purchase company stock at a future date, when certain conditions are met.  Stock options can be awarded to employees for various reasons, and whether or not a court will award stock options can depend on when and why the stock option was granted to the employee.  For example, if the stock option is designed to reward previous work for the company, then the option may be seen as marital property. However, if the option can be exercised at a later date, and is granted for future service for the company, the option may be viewed as separate property.  The court may also divide the grant based on a percentage of how long before the option will vest.

There are also tax implications that could affect you when you receive or exercise stock options that need to be carefully considered before a divorce is finalized.  How exactly a court may divide the option is a fact specific and complicated process, and may require financial experts in addition to your family law attorney.

In sum, the division of stock options can be a complex process, and there are nuances in every case.  If your divorce cases involve stock options and employee stock grants, you should consult an experienced family law attorney.  The attorneys at Corey Law Group are here to help.