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Florida’s Proposed Change to Goodwill Could Set a Precedent

The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar is proposing legislation to clarify the value of goodwill in the marital interest of closely held businesses. The authors envision that this proposed legislation could set a precedent for future family law matters throughout the United States.

Feedback wanted on Abbott model for active/passive appreciation

For several years, Professor Ashok Abbott (West Virginia University) has been developing a methodology for separating active from passive appreciation of business assets in a divorce context (see our first coverage here).

Active and Passive Appreciation in Valuation: Finding the Line

Breaking up is hard, but harder still is appropriating the appreciation of the marital estate during the marriage. The most troubling issue with active and passive appreciation in divorce cases is applying a method based on sound theory, good empirical evidence, and a clear common-sense framework. Ashok Abbott demonstrates a methodology and supporting evidence to isolate passive appreciation successfully. By working through a practice-ready example, you’ll be sure to come away with a new appreciation ...

Mohen v. Mohen

In the trial court (TC), the wife was awarded $4,360,158 of mostly unaccrued interest on the corpus of trusts the husband set up unilaterally for the children. The TC took the value of those trusts, $9,291,372, as part of the marital estate. The TC also added $990,945 of interest that the trusts had received and the remaining unaccrued future interest for a total value of “distribution” paid to the husband of $14,642,475 related to the trusts. The appellate court (AC) determined that the future interest was future interest and, thus, not part of the marital estate. However, the AC let stand the determination that the value of the trusts were to be treated as a distribution to the husband.

Husband Dissipates Assets by Placing Them in Trusts for the Children, but the Appellate Court Does Not Allow Unaccrued Interest

In the trial court (TC), the wife was awarded $4,360,158 of mostly unaccrued interest on the corpus of trusts the husband set up unilaterally for the children. The TC took the value of those trusts, $9,291,372, as part of the marital estate. The TC also added $990,945 of interest that the trusts had received and the remaining unaccrued future interest for a total value of “distribution” paid to the husband of $14,642,475 related to the trusts. The appellate court (AC) determined that the future interest was future interest and, thus, not part of the marital estate. However, the AC let stand the determination that the value of the trusts were to be treated as a distribution to the husband.

Larchick v. Pollock

The trial court (TC) in this case excluded the evidence of a business valuation expert because he had submitted a calculation of value report and was then asked to testify to it. The expert self-admitted that he would not testify to a calculation of value and had explained in his engagement letter that a valuation engagement would be required for testimony. Despite the exclusion by the TC and the self-admission of the inadequacy of a calculation of value for testimony purposes, the appellate court nevertheless remanded the case in part to determine whether the calculation of value met the requirements of Arizona Rule 702 for allowable evidence.

Arizona Appeals Court Says a Calculation of Value Is Not Per Se Unacceptable

The trial court (TC) in this case excluded the evidence of a business valuation expert because he had submitted a calculation of value report and was then asked to testify to it. The expert self-admitted that he would not testify to a calculation of value and had explained in his engagement letter that a valuation engagement would be required for testimony. Despite the exclusion by the TC and the self-admission of the inadequacy of a calculation of value for testimony purposes, the appellate court nevertheless remanded the case in part to determine whether the calculation of value met the requirements of Arizona Rule 702 for allowable evidence.

Asset vs. income approach for valuing goodwill in Tennessee

In Tennessee, personal goodwill is not a marital asset that can be divided between the divorcing parties.

Business Valuation in Divorce Case Law Compendium, Fourth Edition

April 2019 Hardcover, PDF

With in-depth analysis from BVR’s legal team, the new Business Valuation in Divorce Case Law Compendium, Fourth Edition is an indispensable tool for every divorce professional to stay ahead of the game. Now updated with five new chapters and 40 new cases that have helped shape the landscape of business valuation in divorce proceedings, this must-have compendium offers advice from top business valuation experts.

Learn more >>

Recap of recent BV cases of note

A number of recent cases have emerged that contain various valuation issues.

Five Areas to Explore If You Suspect a Spouse Is Hiding Crypto Assets in a Marital Dispute

In BVR’s recent webinar, Cryptocurrency Fraud and Forensics: What Valuation Professionals Need to Know, forensic and cryptocurrency experts Katerina Gaebel and Mark DiMichael, both of Citrin Cooperman, covered various hot topics on fraud and forensic accounting issues in digital assets and how they affect the business valuation profession. Here, we summarize five key areas where one would find proof of crypto asset fraud in a marital dispute, including interviews, tax returns, bank accounts, credit card statements, and more.

Cela v. Cela

The Appellate Court (AC) upheld the trial court’s decision to accept the value under the income approach adjusted for the exclusion of personal goodwill. The expert for the wife (business owner) had used the asset approach reasoning that all goodwill was personal. The trial court and the AC rejected that approach.

Appellate Court Upholds Decision to Use Income Approach and Reduce Personal Goodwill

The Appellate Court (AC) upheld the trial court’s decision to accept the value under the income approach adjusted for the exclusion of personal goodwill. The expert for the wife (business owner) had used the asset approach reasoning that all goodwill was personal. The trial court and the AC rejected that approach.

Kentucky appeals court explains state’s goodwill law

An unpublished opinion from the Kentucky Court of Appeals provides important insight into the court’s thinking as to the goodwill analysis trial courts must perform under the applicable state law when valuing business entities.

Kakollu v. Vadlamudi

In this marital dissolution case, the Indiana Appellate Court affirms the trial court’s decision that no DLOM is allowed in the valuation of a control interest. The husband’s expert failed to provide sufficient evidence that a DLOM was appropriate at the level the wife’s expert claimed. The court also affirmed the decision that $50,000 of legal and expert fees the husband paid in advance is not part of the marital estate and thus not subject to offset.

Court Affirms No DLOM in Valuation of a Control Interest, Wife’s Legal Fees Are Not Part of Marital Estate

In this marital dissolution case, the Indiana Appellate Court affirms the trial court’s decision that no DLOM is allowed in the valuation of a control interest. The husband’s expert failed to provide sufficient evidence that a DLOM was appropriate at the level the wife’s expert claimed. The court also affirmed the decision that $50,000 of legal and expert fees the husband paid in advance is not part of the marital estate and thus not subject to offset.

Maginnis v. Maginnis

In this unpublished opinion, the Kentucky Appellate Court remanded the decision as to the value of the husband’s business for, among other things, the Family Court’s failure to consider an apportionment of goodwill between enterprise and personal goodwill. It also remanded for a reconsideration of the maintenance award to the wife since that award is based in part on the value of the business and the income of the husband.

Trial Court Fails to Consider Apportionment of Goodwill in a Marital Dissolution Case

In this unpublished opinion, the Kentucky Appellate Court remanded the decision as to the value of the husband’s business for, among other things, the Family Court’s failure to consider an apportionment of goodwill between enterprise and personal goodwill. It also remanded for a reconsideration of the maintenance award to the wife since that award is based in part on the value of the business and the income of the husband.

Connecticut Supreme Court clarifies double-counting rule

In a recent decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court clarified this jurisdiction approach to double counting (or double dipping).

Personal v. Enterprise Goodwill in Florida Divorce Cases: What the Appellate Courts Say

In the wake of the recent King case, this is an analysis of marital dissolution case law from the Florida Supreme Court and the five District Courts of Appeal (DCA) of Florida that relates to the valuation of personal and enterprise goodwill in that state.

Oudheusden v. Oudheusden (II)

In this divorce case, the Connecticut Supreme Court, overturning the appellate court, clarifies that awarding the nonowner spouse part of the value of the owner spouse’s businesses and basing alimony on income generated from the businesses is not impermissible double counting (double dipping).

Connecticut Supreme Court Clarifies Double Counting Rule in Divorce Cases Involving Valuation of a Business and Determination of Alimony

In this divorce case, the Connecticut Supreme Court, overturning the appellate court, clarifies that awarding the nonowner spouse part of the value of the owner spouse’s businesses and basing alimony on income generated from the businesses is not impermissible double counting (double dipping).

Goodwill analysis ignoring specifics crumbles on appeal

A divorce expert’s failure to link the facts related to a successful insurance company to his personal goodwill analysis was one of the reasons a Florida appeals court recently overturned the trial court’s valuation findings, which, the reviewing court said, were not based on competent, substantial evidence.

King v. King

This divorce case appeal deals with three primary issues: the determination of the value of insurance agency marital asset, the determination of the amount of personal goodwill attaching to the insurance agency, and the appropriate amount of alimony. The court remands the value of the business as it relates to the exclusion by the trial court of the liabilities the business owed, remands as to the appropriate amount of personal goodwill, and remands as to the erroneous level of income of the husband for determination of alimony.

Florida Trial Court’s Valuation Findings, Including Personal Goodwill Determination, Do Not Hold Up Under Appeals Court Scrutiny

This divorce case appeal deals with three primary issues: the determination of the value of insurance agency marital asset, the determination of the amount of personal goodwill attaching to the insurance agency, and the appropriate amount of alimony. The court remands the value of the business as it relates to the exclusion by the trial court of the liabilities the business owed, remands as to the appropriate amount of personal goodwill, and remands as to the erroneous level of income of the husband for determination of alimony.

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