San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) August 24, 2012
Heath-Newton LLP, a San Francisco family law firm, recently composed a list of three things that consumers considering divorce, including those in a domestic partnership, must know about stock options in a divorce. Stock options earned and vested during marriage are community property and, upon divorce, each spouse is entitled to 50 percent of all community property. The attorneys at Heath-Newton created this list in an increased effort to inform consumers of their legal responsibilities and the strict laws and severe consequences that apply when clients fail to disclose stock options during divorce proceedings.
The first thing consumers in California should know is that they have a marital fiduciary duty throughout their marriage. This means that marriage "imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse, and neither shall take any unfair advantage of the other." (Family Code section 721(b). For example, you must manage marital finances reasonably.
The second law that Heath-Newton wants consumers to know is that when divorcing, they have an affirmative fiduciary duty to inform their spouse of all of their assets, including stock options. This means that they must provide an up-to-date listing of stock options, when they were obtained, when they will vest, and when they are exercised.
Finally, if a client violates their duty and fails to disclose all stock option, the penalties are severe. The judge may award 100% of the stock options to the spouse, order the client to pay the spouse's attorney fees and court costs and even impose monetary sanctions.
"A breach of marital fiduciary duty will be taken seriously by the courts and hiding stock options in a California divorce will land you in HOT water," said Terrance Heath, owner of Heath-Newton LLP. "As Michael Josephson said, "Honesty doesn't always pay, but dishonesty always costs."
About the company:
At Heath-Newton LLP, they specialize in family law, asset protection and estate planning services. Based in San Francisco, their boutique firm has earned a reputation for managing their clients’ cases well, reaching successful resolutions — and minimizing costs and disruption to their clients’ lives.
They have handled a long list of family-law cases, including a broad range of issues facing new families (such as domestic partnerships, premarital agreements, adoption and more), as well as divorce, asset division, child custody and child and spouse support. They also have extensive experience in estate planning, wills, probate, mediation, living wills and trusts. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.heathnewton.com.