Couples over the age of 50 in long-term marriages may have accumulated valuable property together. In some cases, an individual may not have an awareness of assets his or her spouse has acquired.
As reported by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, an individual with an incentive compensation plan, such as restricted stock options, may not have disclosed all the details to his or her spouse. Information concerning future compensation generally does not require reporting on a paycheck stub or an income tax return.
Determining a spouse’s vesting schedule
Some employers’ plans require an individual to work for a specified number of years before becoming fully vested. At that time, they have the right to exercise their stock options or receive certain bonuses. If a spouse earned deferred compensation of this nature during a marriage, a divorce in California may require a payout for half its value.
The timing related to a company’s future compensation plan could make a difference in how much a divorce settlement may include. If a spouse began working for a company before the marriage, that portion may classify as his or her separate property. In that case, the full amount of what he or she expects to receive in the future may not divide equally under California’s community property laws.
Negotiating future assets
As explained by U.S. News and World Report, a spouse may also have a right to reimbursement of marital income used to acquire annuities or life insurance policies. These types of accounts may provide financial benefits that vest in the future.
Because of California’s community property laws, both spouses generally have a right to the fair market value of complex assets acquired during a marriage. Determining an asset’s future and potential worth may require a professional valuation and lead to negotiation on how to divide it.