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The issues that stock options present in a divorce

Massachusetts residents who are contemplating a divorce may be interested in one issue that often accompanies the process. When a couple spits up, certain types of stock owned by one of the parties may present problems that others do not. Restricted stock is a type of stock that is usually given to an employee for no cost, but only becomes transferable after certain conditions are met. This could include working at the company for a certain amount of time, among other possible terms. On the other hand, stock options are a type of compensation that allows the holder to purchase a certain amount of stock at a set price, but at a later date. This often results in acquiring the stock at a lower price. When one spouse owns, or claims to own, one of these types of compensation, these can present complex property division issues. The first step to take when dealing with these assets is to make sure that they actually exist. This may require an attorney inquiring about options and restricted stock with the company’s human resources department. The worth of the stock should then be determined, which may be difficult if the shares are not publicly traded. After the value is determined, the non-owning spouse should be sure to get an equitable distribution of the shares. If the shares are not given as part of the divorce, assets equivalent to the value of the stock should be their replacement. A contentious high net-worth divorce often brings

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Addressing complex property concerns during a divorce

While many Massachusetts divorces can be contentious as property division is discussed, some situations are more challenging because of the complex nature of marital and other assets. Business interests, stocks, real estate, and other issues may require particularly careful analysis to determine value and status as marital or separate assets. Those of you who hold executive positions, own your own companies or have a high net worth may find these issues to be particularly significant during divorce proceedings. An effective approach to property division begins with accurately valuing assets. Tax consequences should also be considered as certain funds are evaluated. In addition to determining the value of retirement resources, professional bonuses, stock options, and bank accounts, it is important to evaluate collectible items, antiques, and other physical belongings of value. Real estate and closely held businesses should also be evaluated. With an accurate value of the marital estate, it is possible to work toward setting attainable goals related to the property division phase of the divorce. The principle of equitable distribution is a guiding factor through this process. A fair division of assets is often determined by a judge, meaning that it is important to present a convincing argument for your wishes with regard to complex assets. It may be a priority to define certain properties as separate during this phase. A prenuptial agreement may also play a significant role in determining how marital assets are to be divided. If you are facing challenges related to high-value or complex assets

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Custody and stock options, Could this happen in Massachusetts?

Ongoing and pernicious divorce negotiations could happen to any couple with significant assets, in Massachusetts or another jurisdiction. Stock options, real estate holdings and other investments can complicate matters. One particular divorce in another state has lasted for more than a decade. There have also been more than 600 court filings. Though not quite a record, the proceedings are certainly on the extreme end of what is at stake. The divorce was originally filed on Aug. 13, 2003, and a divorce was granted nearly two years later. That part is over but other things which both parties feel are worth fighting for are still in court. Things like child visitation, supervised visits, stock options are involved. Moreover, complex financial issues such as who pays for what have been difficult for the parties to sort out. Further complications regarding possible Securities and Exchange Commission violations have also come into play. Legal moves have been made by both parties. Expert opinions regarding the character or psychological makeup of a party, if left unanswered can have damaging consequences. Nevertheless, countering such legal moves, though sometimes difficult, is achievable. It is often important to distinguish between unsupported allegations and actual proof. Most divorces, in Massachusetts or elsewhere, do not take 10 years to resolve — even with complicated child custody or financial issues like stock options or other extensive assets. When one party is fighting with everything they can possibly throw on the table, asserting one’s legal rights to reach a fair and acceptable

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