When people think of property that will be divided in a divorce, they typically think of tangible property like homes or earned income, but any asset that is jointly owned by each spouse is subject to division, including stocks. While some property is easily divisible, assessing and dividing the value of stocks can be complicated. If you have decided to end your marriage or you have received papers instituting a divorce from your spouse, it is important to consult legal counsel to discuss what actions you can take to preserve your rights and pursue a just evaluation and distribution of your property. The trusted Dallas divorce lawyers of the McClure Law Group will work diligently to help you seek a successful resolution.Property Divisible in a Texas Divorce
In Texas divorce actions, any property owned by either spouse or both spouses jointly is classified as either separate or community property. Separate property is property that clearly belongs to one spouse, such as property owned prior to the marriage, property deemed separate in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or property acquired by either spouse via gift or an inheritance. Conversely, any property either spouse obtains during the marriage that is not separate property is presumed to be community property. In some cases, a property will be considered part separate and part community. Any asset that is considered community property is subject to equitable distribution, which means that it may be divided among the parties as the court deems fit.Assessing the Nature of Stocks
Stocks may be purchased or may be granted as a source of income. If stocks were bought by both spouses during the marriage, they are presumed to be community property. Likewise, if either spouse bought stocks before the marriage, the stocks would likely remain separate property. When restricted stocks are granted to either spouse as part of a compensation scheme, however, assessing the nature of the stocks can be complex.
First, it is critical for anyone in a divorce action involving restricted stocks to obtain copies of the restricted stock benefit plan from the employer that granted the stock, the letter granting the stocks, and the vesting schedule for the stocks, to obtain an accurate assessment of the nature of the stocks. Key facts that must be determined are when the stock was granted, the number of shares granted, and the date the stocks will vest.
If restricted stocks were granted and vested before the marriage, they are separate property. Similarly, if restricted stocks were granted and vested after a couple is wed, they will be presumed to be community property. If restricted stocks were granted prior to the marriage but did not vest until after the couple was married, or were granted during the marriage but will not vest until after the divorce, they will likely be considered partially separate and partially community property. In such cases, the courts will determine what portion of the stock should be considered separate and what portion is community through the calculation set forth under the Texas Family Law Code.
If you or your spouse have stock options, a knowledgeable divorce attorney can advise you as to how the court may assess and divide the stocks.Consult a Divorce Lawyer Serving the Dallas Area
Once a divorce is finalized, you cannot adjust the distribution of property, and therefore, it is important to seek a just and equitable evaluation and division of your property during your divorce. If you or your spouse wish to seek a divorce, it is advisable to consult an attorney to discuss how your property may be distributed, and how stocks may be divided. The zealous divorce attorneys of the McClure Law Group have the skills and experience to help you pursue a favorable outcome. We assist people in divorce cases in Dallas, Irving, Fort Worth, Garland, McKinney, Richardson, Frisco, and Rockwall. We also represent parties in family law matters in cities in Dallas, Collin, Denton, Grayson, Tarrant, and Rockwall Counties. We can be contacted through our form online or at 214.692.8200 to schedule a conference regarding your case.