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How to divide stocks in a divorce

If you live in Georgia, then you already have a higher chance of divorce. In a recent study, Georgia, along with Kentucky and Alabama, ranked among the highest divorce rates in the country

In a divorce, both spouses’ legal teams will look at shared assets to determine an equitable division. While most couples focus on material objects, such as houses and cars, it is also paramount to look at other monetary possessions, including stocks. Investments are a great way to build a portfolio, and it can help you develop a nest egg for retirement. You may wonder what will happen to any stocks you own, and all legal parties will consider various factors to reach a consensus. 

When did you acquire the stocks?

Georgia is a joint property state. That means items acquired by one spouse during a marriage belong to both parties. A Georgia court will look at these shared assets and distribute them in an equitable manner, which may not necessarily be 50/50.

Therefore, if you purchased the stocks prior to the marriage, then they are probably safe. In the event you purchased some stocks prior to marriage but continued to buy more after the fact, then only the stocks bought after the wedding will be subject to division. 

How badly do you want to retain the stocks?

If you acquired stocks after marriage, then you may worry about what will happen to them. You may be able to hang onto all of the stocks, but you will need to surrender something else. Perhaps your legal team can work out an arrangement where you give up a nice car in exchange for the stock options. You may also opt to take on a majority of any shared debt as long as you can retain the stocks. You have options available to you, and you should look at all your options when you want to retain most or all of your stocks.