Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.

Since July, the Securities and Exchange Commission has extended the ability to file paperwork for IPOs confidentially to all companies. It’s part of an effort to boost declining IPOs that means companies may take advantage of the ability to work out details and gain an edge on their competitors.

It may also mean that divorcing couples involved in business or start-ups can share increased financial rewards – if they are open with each other and willing to work together. At Boileau Conflict Solutions we utilize financial, mathematical and psychological techniques such as game theory and fair division mathematics to solve complex problems. Divorce mediation can help to divide complex assets, especially where there are questions of community property. This is often the case when divorcing partners are involved in fast-growing start-ups which may have been built from the ground up before the partners got together. IPOs can clarify a couples’ assets together, as many employees of tech companies have stock options that are difficult to assess until they can be realized. However stock may also decline, so it’s advisable to consult a divorce mediator and/or financial professional so the value of assets can be carefully monitored.

If you are thinking of divorcing and you or your partner are involved in a tech company that may go public, you should consult with a divorce mediator with financial expertise. Here are some things you might need to consider:

– Separation dates in California can affect the distribution of community property. You may be delaying a divorce settlement in advance of an IPO, but you should also consider separation dates.
– Do you know the value of your partners’ stock options? Are you aware of any impending IPOs? Be sure you and your partner are on the same page and you have access to this information.
– Be careful to understand and talk to your partner about what has been acquired during the marriage and what has been acquired outside before an impending IPO.
– Plan carefully for handling a lump sum – if stock options are a large portion of your marital assets you should make sure that “new money” goes towards a sustainable future rather than going to your head.
– Make sure delaying a divorce settlement is the right option for you. If stocks are likely to decline it may not be.

At Boileau Conflict Solutions, we understand that dividing your assets during divorce is a complex, emotional process. We aim to help you make decisions rationally, even in the midst of turmoil. We utilize mathematical and psychological principles to understand the interests involved and help you thrive in the future. We are based in the Silicon Valley area and often work with busy tech employees whose assets may be complex and not yet realized. We have legal, mathematical and psychoanalytical backgrounds and believe every successful divorce negotiation is the result of sensitivity to both practical and emotional realities. We are available 7 days a week at our offices in Boulder, CO, Campbell, CA, and Irvine, CA in person or via Skype, Zoom or telephone.

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