Can I Defer Promotions to Lower Support During a Georgia Divorce?

Divorcing spouses in Georgia may understand that support calculations are based primarily on income. If you face a potential promotion or bonus in the near future, you might be wondering if you can defer these rewards until after your divorce for obvious reasons. But is this even legal? Will your employer allow it? How can you approach this situation to limit the financial consequences of your divorce?

Speak With Your Employer First

As a first step, you should consider whether or not such an arrangement is even possible. Your employer might insist that you accept the promotion, bonus, or stock options right away – and this discussion may become pointless. In the event of a promotion, your employer might want you to accept the position immediately to address urgent issues within the company. Certain stock options may also need to be vested immediately, and the company may have a policy against deferred bonuses. 

However, your employer might also be willing to work with you. As long as you explain your financial situation and the pressures of a pending divorce, your employer could be flexible enough to keep your various rewards “on hold” until the divorce has been finalized. 

Is Deferring My Promotion, Raise, or Bonus Even Legal?

You should be as open with your ex about this as possible. Although this strategy might negatively affect their financial situation, you generally encounter legal issues when you start concealing financial issues from them. Technically, you owe your ex a “fiduciary duty” until the divorce has been finalized – which means you may be legally obligated to disclose your financial activities. 

The key factor in this situation is whether the bonus or raise is marital or separate property. If it is marital property, it is eligible for equitable distribution. If not, you get to keep it. Although this might seem simple, identifying the status of bonuses and raises is anything but. You must consider whether your bonus was “earned” during the marriage or after the date of separation. You must also consider whether these rewards were offered during or after the marriage. 

As long as you feel confident that these rewards classify as separate property, you may communicate your goals to your spouse and wait until after the divorce to receive them. This might be particularly helpful in the context of unvested stock options. Speak with your divorce lawyer for more information on this complex subject. 

Find an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Georgia

If you have been searching for an experienced divorce lawyer in Georgia, look no further than Lankford & Moore Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous spouses in Georgia pursue positive results in various aspects of divorce – including child support and alimony. To discuss advanced strategies like deferring promotions/bonuses, consider a consultation with us at your earliest convenience. 


I realized the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder. The lesson was so indelibly burnt into me that a large part of my time during the twenty years of my practice as a lawyer was occupied in bringing about private compromises of hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby — not even money, certainly not my soul.

Mahatma Gandhi

Lankford & Moore Law in Downtown Lawrenceville

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