If you are married and your spouse has received stock ownership for $40M and s corporation payments, taxes of $150K, how much do you get in divorce? 15 Answers as of February 28, 2013

I have been married for over 10 years and your wife’s personal worth is 1/3 stock ownership of 40MILLION annual gross sales minimum and paying tax of $160000.00 a year for last 10 years.

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Did she own the stock before marriage? It makes a huge difference. The character of property (separate or community) is derived at inception of title. It may not seem fair but this is how it works: Scenario number 1: Joe and Sue marry on January 1, 2000, they divorce on January 1, 2012 (12 years later). If Joe bought stock or helped start a company on December 31, 1999 that is his stock. Sue has no claim or title. At divorce, Joe keeps stock even if it was worth only $5,000 on December 31, 1999 and worth $1M on January 1, 2012. Now, if that stock paid a dividend of $250K per year starting in 2006 and the parties invested that dividend into other investment vehicles, more stock, or even another company, the dividends (which are income) are community property since they were derived during marriage and therefore that money or asset purchased with those dividends is divisible by the court but the original stock is off limits. Scenario number 2: Joe starts company or acquires stock in company on January 2, 2000 (the day after marriage) the title to the asset (stock) is taken in Joe's name only. The asset is "presumed" community property. It does not matter than Sue's name is not on the stock certificates, only that it was acquired/purchased during marriage. Note, I said "presumed" Joe can claim it as separate property but he has the burden of establishing it was purchased with separate assets, such as a 401K he had prior to marriage. Say Joe can show (TRACE) the money used to purchase the stock to money he earned prior to marriage then he can rebut the presumption and have the asset confirmed as separate property and the same result as in scenario number 1 applies (buying the company the day after marriage makes this simple, but imagine a case where several years have passed). Scenario number 3: Joe quits his day job, takes a job with company that pays him very little but issues stock options. He starts this prior to marriage and continues for the first two or three years of marriage. Now the stock is worth $1M on January 1, 2012. The asset is "mixed" meaning that portion acquired prior to marriage is separate and the portion acquired during marriage is community and all the dividends paid during marriage are community. Scenario number 4: Same as #3 but all the stock is acquired during marriage as compensation (low pay and options in lieu of paying market salaries is common for start up companies). The $1M is community. So, the answer to your question depends on the character of the property and the value assigned to that part that is community. Finally, there is a presumption of 50/50 in Texas on the community but the Courts can and do vary off the 50/50 rule when justice dictates. Mind you, they do not go far afield, just vary a little. The fact the company has $40M in gross sales is one factor to consider in the value of the stock, it does not mean the stock is worth $40M. Likewise the amount of taxes paid is a factor to consider it is not direct evidence of value of the company. The business evaluation is a tricky model all its own. Bottom line, you need to hire a lawyer. While this dissertation is intended to help you figure out the GENERAL answer to your question, there is no way I or any lawyer could ever educate you via a forum with sufficient means to handle a divorce like this on your own. Tracing assets is part skill, part art. In fact, 90% of divorce litigation could be described that way.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 2/28/2013
John Russo | John Russo
No one can answer this question as presented, need to know the history of the stock for one thing, but I would suggest that you retain counsel forthwith, and when I say counsel I mean a good family law attorney, not just an attorney, there is to much on the table for you to attempt this on your own, or to retain Uncle Ernie's real estate attorney, I specialize in family law i advertise as such, not claiming that you should contact me, we most likely live in different jurisdictions, but what I am saying is that you should look for someone with my qualifications.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 2/28/2013
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
I would need the details but generally you will have a claim under the circumstances for some of the value, especially if the value of the asset appreciated.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/28/2013
Reade & Associates
Reade & Associates | R. Christopher Reade
In Nevada, stock accrued due to labors of a spouse during the marriage are community property. Stock given through gift or devise (will) are that spouse's sole and separate property.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 2/28/2013
John H. Sibbison III, Professional Law Corporation | John Sibbison
I can only tell you that in California, eveything that is acquired except by gift or inheritance during the term of the marriage (date of marriage to date of separation) is presumed to be community of which you would be entitled to 50%.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/28/2013
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    Well, based on your facts if he received this during the marriage then you could have a one half interest.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    You are entitled to a portion of the money and/or shares, how much depends of various factors, one being length of time of marriage, which you state is more than 10 years (works in your favor), another is how long has she owned the stock and are there other owners.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    You need to retain an attorney to review your case.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    The Law Offices of Tres A. Porter | Tres A. Porter
    The answer to your question depends upon several factors such as how the stock was acquired, when it was acquired, your income, the spouse's income from other sources, the standard of living during the marriage, other assets acquired during the marriage, any minor children, etc. You should consult a family law attorney in your area immediately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    Carey and Leisure | John Smitten
    You get half of the marital portion not necessarily half the whole thing.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    LAW OFFICE OF ANNE B. HOWARD | Anne B. Howard
    See an attorney. This is not something you can get a quick answer online. There is too much to lose. What's earned during marriage should be community but there may be a separate component to it. Corporate earnings are not necessarily the same as the stock value and someone needs to value any community portion to see what your are entitled to. Straight stock options can be divided but generally have to be held by the employee spouse due to corporations rules so division has to be set out in the settlement agreement.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    You need to talk with an attorney about the details. The standard answer in Idaho is that you get 50% of community property. Typically retirement accounts and stock ownership would be considered community property. But there is an issue of whether the stock has vested, etc. Talk with your attorney. If you do not have one, call the Idaho State Bar for a referral.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    With assets like that and marriage for ten years, you should be entitled to a very fair amount of those assets. Exactly how much?This depends on the law of the State you live in. Before you do anything, talk to a divorce lawyer. And do that soon.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    David A. Browde, P.C.
    David A. Browde, P.C. | David Browde
    That depends upon the circumstances under which she received the payments and stock, the rules are different if it is inherited or received as a gift as opposed to earned. But you should consult a local divorce attorney and discuss the situation in detail.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/28/2013
    Kalil & Eisenhut, LLC | Michael N. Kalil
    Impossible to answer from the very limited information you have provided. I don't know if the stock is marital or separate property, etc. Need to know all of the facts, not just very limited ones to make any type of assessment.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/28/2013
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