Dividing Employee Bonuses in a Divorce: Is it Possible?

Man checking money

Employee bonuses are incentives given by employers to reward their most deserving employees to encourage them to perform better. But if that employee faces a divorce settlement, the spouse can claim a share of that bonus as part of their agreed alimony.

Still Legally Married?

Employees may receive employment bonuses while married or while undergoing a divorce. Their assets must be divided between them and their spouses. But there is a debate regarding this issue. As employees have earned these additional monetary benefits by way of hard work and sincerity, the whole amount should rightfully be theirs. There shouldn’t be any question of division between them and their partners. According to top divorce lawyers, as overall income is taken into consideration during financial settlements, bonuses are also considered a substitute for increased wages. This makes the issue more complex.

Man checking money

Affordable Divorce Center states that most courts go by the fundamental rule for dividing property, inclusive of bonuses. The clause for division of bonuses depends on the time of award and not when it was actually paid. With regard to marital and non-marital properties, a bonus received prior to marriage is considered the property of an individual, and it doesn’t merit division in divorce matters. But a bonus received while a person is married is deemed to be marital property, with the spouse having the right to claim his or her share of it.

State-to-State Basis

This, of course, is a general and broad understanding of property division, but may not be applicable to all cases. This is because each US state has its own laws, philosophies, and precedents on property division between the parties involved in a divorce.

This is where experienced and efficient divorce lawyers will come to your aid when you file for a divorce. They will guide you properly according to the state’s laws and tell you if you are eligible for a share of the bonus earned by your spouse. If it’s in the affirmative, they will make the proper submissions to the court with full details of the amount your spouse has received. You’ll also be informed of how much your share would be.