Greetings. I believe you are talking about stock options. This is a great question, and I will tell you that it depends. If the stock option is part of an ongoing vesting cycle where a spouse gets stock options regularly as income, then it may be treated as income if it is a stock that typically performs well. All sources of income are looked at for child support purposes.
Now, if the stock options are underwater, they have no value until they are exercised, so I would argue that they are income in the year they are exercised.
Finally, if the stock options are divided under equitable distribution, can they later be used as income for child support? Now, that is a great question…one I would have to look up because I don’t know the answer to right now.
But to answer your question, a stock option which is underwater (has a strike price more than the current stock price) is generally worthless, so not counted as income for child support. Thank you.
Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
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Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
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