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DIVIDING STOCK OPTIONS

Dividing stock options in a divorce in Texas can be a complex process, as it involves different types of stock options and various legal considerations. The division of stock options typically depends on when they were granted, whether they are considered community or separate property, and the terms of the divorce agreement. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Community vs. Separate Property: In Texas, property acquired during the marriage is generally considered community property and is subject to division in a divorce. Stock options granted during the marriage are usually considered community property, regardless of whether they have vested or not.
  2. Characterization of Stock Options: It's essential to determine whether the stock options are fully vested, partially vested, or unvested. Fully vested options are typically more straightforward to divide than unvested or partially vested options. Unvested stock options can pose specific challenges, as they may not have a present value and could require future actions or events to become valuable.
  3. Valuation: Accurately valuing stock options is crucial for the division process - factors like the current market price of the stock, the exercise price of the options, the number of options, and the vesting schedule.
  4. Stock Option Agreements: The terms of the stock option agreements can vary and may include specific provisions related to divorce and the division of options. Consulting these agreements is essential to understand any restrictions or requirements.
  5. Division Methods: Stock options can be divided in various ways. Some possible methods include offsetting the value of the options with other marital assets, exercising the options and splitting the proceeds, or creating a deferred distribution arrangement in which one spouse receives a portion of the options at a future date when they vest or become exercisable.
  6. Tax Implications: The division of stock options may have tax consequences for both parties. It's important to consider the tax implications when determining the most suitable division method.

Due to the complexities involved in dividing stock options, it is advisable to seek legal counsel from an experienced family law attorney who understands the intricacies of divorce and property division in Texas.

If you have questions, we have answers.

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