I am a software developer and I have been working with a few others in a startup for just over a year. However there has been a lot of conflicts lately and I can no longer work with them. I have decided to leave however we are having dispute over the amount of share I own (vested) in the company so far. We've never signed a shareholders' agreement. I do have Emails from earlier on showing that I would own 20% of the company for my work (without mentioning anything regarding vesting). However, shortly after those emails we have Orally decided that the shares would vest over a two years period. Now it's been 12 months, which means I should have 20*12/24 = 10% shares vested in the company. However the team have told me to leave and owning an arbitrary 5% stake.
So I guess going to the court is my only option. I'm wondering what are the potential outcome and procedures? Those Oral agreements, I'm sure my team members would just unanimously deny, even under oath. Will the Email document showing the 20% be of any help to me? (If the Email says I would get 20% for doing xxx and yyy work, without anything about vesting, then legally it would be interpreted that I deserve the full 20% for doing the xxx and yyy work. Is this correct?)
Also, while I see potential in this startup, but until now this startup has not made any money yet, do I have the option to wait and see if they will actually make money before proceeding with legal actions, so that it's worth the lawyer fee? If so, how long do I have before I have to file in court?
Thanks for any advices.