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Specialty tag(s): Complex Property, Property Division, Divorce

What Happens to Unvested Stock in a Divorce?

Katie Flowers Samler | April 2, 2024

Determining what happens to unvested shares of stock when you get a divorce is a two-step process. First, you need to characterize what type of property the shares are. Then, you can determine ownership of the shares after the divorce is final.

Step 1: Characterization

Since unvested stock is not yet owned outright, characterizing these shares as either separate property or community property can be tricky. You’ll need an experienced divorce attorney who understands the complexities of property characterization and can ensure that your shares are accurately categorized.

Step 2: Determining Ownership

If your unvested shares are separate property, you will own them after the divorce. They will not be included in the property division process; they’re yours alone.

If your unvested stock is community property, it will be subject to division like any other marital asset. Often, you’ll settle on a fair estimated value per share, and then you’ll pay your spouse half of the value of your shares based on that figure, retaining ownership of the shares. You can also opt to divide the shares themselves, holding your spouse’s shares in a trust for them.

If your divorce is likely to involve complex property division, you need an accomplished attorney who you can trust to skillfully handle your case. At Goranson Bain Ausley, our divorce lawyers are well-equipped to provide the guidance you need. Contact us for a consultation today.

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Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of family law and will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you have the information you need to make wise decisions and prepare for the future.

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At Goranson Bain Ausley, we strive to deliver clarity about what comes next and confidence that you and your family’s future are more secure. Contact our team and discover how we can help you.

“Divorce can happen to anyone. I guide clients through the process, protecting them, their interests and their goals.”

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