Are Restricted Stock Units Subject to Equitable Distribution in a New York Divorce?

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Compensation packages for employees in large companies do not always look the same. Sometimes, they can include additional compensation measures that encourage good performance overtime. In some companies, this can include restricted stock units (RSUs). Individuals who have RSUs and are going through a divorce may be wondering if this asset is subject to equitable distribution, even if it has not vested yet. Continue reading below to learn more and contact an experienced New York divorce attorney for assistance with your case.

How are RSUs Divided in a Divorce?

New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital assets are divided in a divorce based on what is fair. Stock options and RSUs acquired throughout the duration of a marriage in New York are considered marital property and can be divided in a divorce. The only exception is if the holder can prove they were acquired as a gift or inheritance, or they exchange it for other non-marital property. It can be determined if a stock option was granted as a reward for past services by examining the plan documents, such as the Stock Options Plan and the Options Statement. These should state exercise price, expiration date, and other relevant terms.

When determining the value of a stock option, it depends on if it is publicly traded or from a privately held company. The value of publicly traded stock is based on the fair market value of the stock, usually at the date of trial or the date of the legal action. Stock of a privately held company can be more complex and tends to require business valuation.

How Can I Protect my RSUs?

When dealing with stock options in a divorce, it is important to protect the assets that you can. That is why it is beneficial to retain the services of a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through the process and prepare you with the right documentation, such as:

  • Testimony of you and your employer
  • A copy of your stock plan
  • Correspondence and additional documentation related to the stock award
  • Vesting schedule
  • Stock plan statements

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Matters of divorce and family law should be navigated with the guidance of an experienced attorney. If you need strong legal representation regarding matters of divorce, family law, and estate law, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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