This is the next post in my series on how high asset prices impact that application of Nevada’s community property laws during a Las Vegas divorce. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing and it also stressed the need to contact an attorney if you have questions about your situation. It is important to discuss your situation with counsel as you may be entitled to more or less of your investment portfolio then you currently realize. In this article I will discuss how the stock market’s current record highs may impact the division of assets in your case. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Individual stocks purchased before a marriage will generally remain the separate property of the spouse who owns them. This means that they will not be considered part of the “marital community” when the Court is determining which assets to divide. If, however, shares were purchased with money earned during the marriage then such securities would generally be considered “community” in nature. The Court would require the value of the shares to be split equally amongst the parties. This means that if shares were bought for $10,000 during the marriage and are now worth $100,000 then each party may be entitled to receive $50,000 ($100,000/2). These concepts apply to securities held in a brokerage account as well as those held in an IRA or a 401k plan.
If you own a substantial number of dividend paying shares then it is important to understand how the Clark County Family Court will classify those dividends. If the dividends are paid by shares which the Court considers separate property then such dividends will also be “separate.” If the dividends are mixed with marital funds, however, then they will likely be considered community property. If you choose to reinvest your dividends into additional shares then securities bought with “separate property” dividends will be considered separate while shares bought with “community property” dividends will be considered jointly owned. It is important to understand that I am discussing these concepts in general terms and, when complex financial portfolios are involved, it is best to discuss the matter with a lawyer to gain an understanding of how the Court will likely view your situation.
If you own a substantial investment portfolio then it is important that you retain an experienced Las Vegas divorce attorney to assist you. Counsel will help you understand how the law applies to your case and, if necessary, can retain financial experts to testify in Court on your behalf. I devote my practice to the handling of family law matters and I strive to provide the highest levels of service to each of my clients. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation.