A Question of Law:
Love, marriage and stock options

By Jeffrey Miller
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/23/2001

Most people work to live, not vice versa, and it is that truism — or more precisely, the intersection of employment law with family law and personal lives — which supplies this issue’s topics.

The big-news case considers a really hot topic: how the collapse of a marriage affects the share-options pot of gold for employees of high-tech companies. An Ontario court has ruled that the options cannot be counted as income in calculating child-support payments.

The case concerns Robert Washburn, a vice-president with the spectacularly successful high-tech company, Nortel Networks. Washburn was paying his former wife, Wendi Arnold, $3,000 monthly for the support of their three children, including a daughter who turned down job offers to take postgraduate studies in Europe.