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Dividing Complex Assets in Divorce

How will our family business be divided in a divorce?

Texas is a community property state. As such, most property acquired during the marriage will belong to both spouses and must be divided during a divorce. Some assets are fairly easy to divide, like funds held in a joint bank account, but other assets present unique challenges. Complex assets that could be involved in your divorce include the family business, stock options, hidden assets, and more. Our Austin, Texas divorce lawyers routinely assist in complex property division matters, striving to achieve your best possible outcome.

Dividing the Family Business

Your business may be your most valuable asset. You have likely spent countless hours building your business. If you and your spouse decide to divorce, dividing the business can present significant issues. It is unlikely you and your spouse can continue to run the business together, so who will get it?
Division of the business will start with an accurate business valuation. You will often need to employ the help of an experienced business valuation specialist who will review your sales, liabilities, growth rate, and much more. Armed with an accurate valuation, you will now have several options. You may wish to offer your spouse an asset of similar value in exchange for keeping sole ownership of the business. You could sell the business, or you could potentially buy your spouse out of the business. Your divorce lawyer will assist you in developing the best course of action for you and the business.

Dividing Stock Options

Employees in some industries will receive the option to buy company stock. This is known as a stock option. Stock benefits can either be an employee benefit for all employees, or consist of a plan only for higher up executives, in which case it is a part of the employee’s compensation.
In Texas, stock options that are earned during the marriage are deemed community assets. If the stock options become “vested” during the marriage, meaning that the owner has the right to exercise the purchase, then it will be subject to division. Further, even stock options not vested entirely during the marriage may constitute community assets. Your attorney will assist you in evaluating the stock options to determine whether they constitute joint assets and, if so, fighting for your fair share of the assets.

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