As you and your spouse decide how to split assets in divorce, your salaries will be a factor in determining the amount that you each get. Your salaries are also a factor in determining spousal and child support. But what if you don’t have a simple salary?

Bonuses, commissions, stock options and job benefits can all factor into your pay structure. The more complex your pay structure, the more complex the determination of property division and support payments. Here are a few ways your pay structure can affect what you get in a divorce:

  • Bonuses – Your company may offer you different types of bonuses. You may receive a sign-on bonus when you join the company. Or you may get a bonus at the end of every year. If you earn these bonuses while married, a court will likely consider them marital property, subject to division upon divorce.
  • Commissions – Like bonuses, courts usually consider commissions as part of marital property. However, the timing of when you receive your commission can be important. If your company doesn’t pay you a large commission until after your divorce is final, you may not have to consider it marital property.
  • Stock options – If you are in an executive position, you may receive stock options from your company as part of your compensation. These can be difficult to split since they may not be liquid. You may have to pay a certain cash value to your former spouse based on the estimated value of the stocks. Or your spouse may elect to wait until you receive the full value of the stocks to receive a share.

Your pay structure plays an important role in divorce proceedings. And if your company pays you in more than just a cash salary, deciding how to split your assets becomes difficult. You and your spouse will likely need qualified attorneys to help you decide exactly how to divide your complex assets.