Laura Morgan

Extraordinary Wealth, Extraordinary Needs? Or Gold-Plated Diapers? Equity Compensation and Child Support

Child support is driven by a rigid guideline formula. We all know that. But do minor children ever really need six figures? Can too much child support be harmful to children? These questions are particularly relevant in California, where employees of startups and publicly traded companies in the bio and tech spaces earn extraordinary wealth through equity compensation (stock options, restricted stock, ESOPs, and the like). Under a strict application of the child support guideline formula, this wealth sometimes yields a dazzling amount of child support. This can result in unfairness, especially where rules promulgated by the employer or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) limit the employee’s ability to “cash out” equity compensation. Join our interdisciplinary panel, consisting of Attorney Scott Lantry – who acted as lead trial counsel in the MacIlwaine case – Dr. Jacqueline Singer, and Attorney Laura Morgan, as they discuss how, exactly, trial counsel goes about building and refuting the evidentiary showing required by sections 4056 and 4057 of the Family Code where significant wealth – and a significant child support obligation – results from equity-based compensation.