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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Capital Gains


Term Definition Capital Gains - the profits from an investment that have been held long term.
Application in Divorce Long-term capital gains are normally taxed at a lower rate than short-term gains or ordinary income.

Under certain circumstances, a person filing alone may be allowed an exclusion of $250,000 and a married couple can claim exclusion of $500,000. Under certain circumstances ex-spouses may qualify for this exclusion.

Capital gains are not recognized when transferring ownership of the marital home from one spouse to the other upon divorce, but it is very important to recognize that these gains will be recognized by the IRS if the receiving party sells the home in the future.

When dividing or selling equities upon divorce, it is very important to recognize any short-term or long term gains that will be paid upon the sale of the equity holdings. For example, a settlement might consist of each spouse getting 1000 shares of Walmart stock. This may sound like an even deal, but if one block of the 1000 shares was purchased at a much cheaper price per share than the other 1000 shares, the one spouse will have a greater amount of capital gain taxes to be paid when the shares are sold. Also the length of time of ownership of shares of stock will determine whether or not it will be taxed as a long-term or short-term gain.

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