Property division of complex assets

The division of assets and distribution of debts frequently are often points of contention in New York divorce proceedings. The financial aspect becomes even more complicated and contentious when complex asset division is at issue. Examples include determining how to address employment perquisites and benefits that include bonuses, commissions, stock options and the like.

Stock options

When it comes to the matter of complex asset division in a divorce, stock options awarded during the term of marriage are considered marital assets subject to being divided between the parties. As New York is an equitable distribution state, the division will not necessarily be equal, but the judge will make a determination as to what is fair unless the parties have previously agreed otherwise.


Bonuses actually awarded during the course of a marriage are deemed marital assets. However, there are instances in which a person is awarded a prepaid bonus that is subject to employer claw-back. Bonuses that vest during a marriage would be marital property subject to division. Bonuses that are subject to a potential claw-back at a point in time after the marriage ended likely would not be regarded as marital property and divisible.


Commissions awarded during the course of a marriage are marital assets. If a spouse undertook certain work during the marriage, but the commission itself was not paid until after the filing for divorce, the other party might be able to make an argument that this earned but later paid commission is a marital asset.


Employment perquisites like the use of an automobile technically are considered compensation. As a consequence, their value is deemed a marital asset.