Divorce and the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit

Posted by William H. Sherman on Aug 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

Question: My husband wants a divorce because he has met another woman and I can't stand his drinking any longer.  We have been married for 27 years and he is the president of a well-known company in Atlanta.  He gets stock from the company.  But for at least 7 years he has not told me what he was getting.  I only know about the stock because sometimes I'd see a letter that informed him of how much he would be getting; last year he got over 250,000 shares.  And I overheard him speaking to his accountant on several occasions about the stock and what we should do about taxes.

We live in Roswell and I do volunteer work in Alpharetta and at Roswell charities.

He's very secretive and I really don't know much about his financial situation.  He basically gives me an allowance and he pays all the bills.  Sometimes he'll take me shopping and I can buy whatever I want.

I haven't worked in many years and I'm not even sure where his bank accounts are.  I don't even have a bank account.  But sometimes I'll copy the statements that the banks send to him.  At least I have those copies.

But I know most of the money he makes comes from stock from his company.  Now that he wants a divorce I need to know if there is any way to find out exactly how much he has in stocks.  Since he became president of the company I know that his bonuses and stock awards have grown substantially.

How can I find out how much stock he owns and what its value is?

Answer: In a divorce each spouse is entitled to know the true financial circumstances of the other spouse.  Your husband has a legal duty, under Georgia law, to disclose his stock ownership interest, as well as many other things.  Each spouse must file a “Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit.”  That affidavit is supposed to be the basis of any financial awards.  You would also file a “Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit.”

If you believe that your husband is not being honest when he completes the form, your divorce lawyer needs to subpoena records from his company to show exactly how much stock he has been awarded.  Companies are under a legal duty to keep those records.

As for valuing the stock, if he works for a publicly traded company (that is a company whose shares traded on a stock exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ) that would entail looking at the stock price on any given day.  Equities are “quoted” each day on a stock exchange.  If the company is not publicly traded, then there are various valuation metrics that can be used to determine the stock's value.  We know experts who determine the value of many assets, including stocks.

It is not uncommon for certain senior executives to earn more in stock compensation than through salary and bonus.

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About the Author

William H. Sherman

With a professional background that includes serving as a Senior Assistant County Attorney and as an Assistant Attorney General, attorney William H. Sherman has great experience, a broad range of legal knowledge and a proven record of success.  Each of Mr. Sherman's clients gets the full benefit of his experience.  Because attorney Sherman has worked for governmental organizations, large corporations and clerked for a judge, he has handled a wide variety of cases from negotiation and trial to successful appeal. Mr. Sherman is very proud of his reputation as a problem-solver who is always available to his clients.  Active in the community, Mr. Sherman and his wife, attorney Valerie Sherman, support many community organizations, sports teams and charities.  Call him now and let his experience work for you.

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