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Simplifying stock division for divorcing Missouri couples

At times, dividing assets during a divorce is not just limited to retirement accounts, a house and marital property. Some couples have significantly more assets than others. Others have stocks under their names. Whether the stocks are from a business ownership or from being an employee of a fledgling company, stocks tend to make property division more complex. However, there are ways to simplify and fairly divide stocks during a divorce in St. Charles, Missouri.

Typically, stocks are one of two types -- stock options or restricted stocks. Stock options are bought by an employee, while restricted stocks are awarded as company shares. With that in mind, the first step to dividing stocks is to identify if they actually exist. Although this may seem like an easy thing to determine, it is important to keep in mind that stocks do not appear on tax returns or most financial documents.

The second step is stock valuation. Being "a promise for future riches," stock values are often hard to pin down. An economist or forensic accountant can help determine the current and potential value of the stocks.

The third step is a fair division. Divorcing spouses, should work through possible angles in stock division. Both spouses should have stocks that are likely and least likely to appreciate. If a spouse does not wish to have stock shares, that spouse should have assets that have approximately the same value.

Once divided, the next step is the fun part, exercising stock options. In other words, the person will take all the stock potential and turn it into actual wealth by exercising the stock option. Professionals recommend that spouses do this immediately before the stocks depreciate.

Finally, St. Charles, Missouri, divorcing couples should not forget about taxes. Stocks are taxable and the amount of taxes should be considered during property division.

Source: Forbes, "Dividing Stock Options And Restricted Stock In Divorce" Jeff Landers, Mar. 19, 2014

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