During a divorce it is critical to understand your marital estate and all it contains. Salary and compensation can be a complex and sometimes tricky area to navigate, particularly in divorces that involve one or more spouse’s executive perks and compensation beyond their typical base salary. If you or your spouse are an executive or in management at a company, executive compensation may be a factor in your divorce proceedings. Executive compensation beyond salary typically comes in a few forms, including:
- An Employee Stock Option is a benefit offered by employers that allows the employee to purchase shares of company stock, at a discounted rate, usually after a certain time period has occurred, ie., “vesting”.
- Restricted Stock is shares of company stock given to an employee for past performance or for future retention and performance and can be given in the form of actual shares (RSAs) or as a right to acquire the shares at vesting (RSUs).
- Employee Stock Purchase Plans allow an employee to buy stock on a regular basis at a discounted price, and the shares can either be sold or held for more than a year.
- Deferred Compensation Plans allow an employee to elect to defer a portion of their compensation or salary, usually made available at the time of retirement, and may be matched in total or up to a certain percentage by the employer.
- Payment and use of a company vehicle, cellular phone, computer or complementary gym or country club membership.
In a divorce, each of these benefits will need to be accounted for as divisible assets or for calculation of spousal and child support. Those calculations can be messy and difficult, and having an attorney who specializes in high net worth divorces will be vital for ensuring the best possible results in a convoluted situation.
If you or a loved one is facing divorce involving executive compensation issues, contact the attorneys at OWENS & PERKINS by clicking here or by calling our office at 480.630.2464 to schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation.