Dividing Restricted Stock Units in California Divorce | What You Need to Know

If you are someone who works in a large company, you may be eligible for certain compensation packages, some of which may include restricted stock units. This will allow you to make more than your regular salary. That being said, when someone with an RSU gets divorced, they may worry whether they can keep any compensation in the RSU, or if the RSU will be subject to equitable distribution. Please continue reading and reach out to our experienced California divorce attorneys to learn more about RSUs and how we can help you through every step of the process ahead. Here are some of the questions you may have:

Will I lose my RSU if it was granted and vested during my marriage?

Simply put, if you, the employee, are looking to keep your vested stock, both sides are allowed to consent to an equalization arrangement based on the current fair market value. That being said, if both sides are looking to split the stock according to its current value, you may sell half and give it to your spouse.

Will I lose my RSU if it was granted during my marriage, though it was vested afterward?

The answer to this question is a bit more complex. Essentially, in certain cases where a divorce is not particularly contentious, you may wait until your RSU is finally vest, and from here, you may divide them equally and in accordance with the current market value. That being said, if you choose this option, it often proves challenging to value the RSU before it is vested. You may also choose to value any RSUs that were non-vested when you divorced and give your spouse property of equal value. Finally, you can actually consider your RSU as an earned marital asset and divide it in accordance with the rules established in the Hug and Nelson California Appellate Cases.

Can I protect my RSUs from divorce?

If you have stock options, you should try and protect them from divorce. Under certain circumstances, we can work to protect these assets by preparing the following documents:

  • You and your employer’s testimony
  • A vesting schedule
  • Stock plan statements
  • A copy of your stock plan
  • Any correspondence and additional documentation pertaining to the stock award

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to speak with our experienced Los Angeles divorce attorneys today to learn more about how we can help you through every step of the process ahead.


Contact our experienced Los Angeles firm

Divorce and family law issues are notoriously complicated and personal, which is why you must hire an attorney with years of experience, as well as the compassion and skill needed to handle these sensitive matters. For the qualified, dedicated legal representation you and your family deserve and need, contact Zitser Family Law Group, APC today.

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