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Absent a goodwill analysis, the court does its own

In a Tennessee divorce case involving the husband’s plastic surgery practice, neither valuation expert did an analysis that separated enterprise and personal goodwill.

Chase v. Chase

On appeal, the husband asked the court to review whether the wife needed alimony given the assets she otherwise received in the equitable distribution and her earning capacity as a pharmacist, whether an award of rehabilitative alimony and alimony in futuro by the trial court was appropriate, and whether the trial court’s valuation of the husband’s medical practice was in error. The appellate court affirmed the trial court in all aspects reviewed and did not award legal fees to either party.

Tennessee Appeals Court Affirms Trial Court Decision on Spousal Support and on the Value of Husband’s Medical Practice

On appeal, the husband asked the court to review whether the wife needed alimony given the assets she otherwise received in the equitable distribution and her earning capacity as a pharmacist, whether an award of rehabilitative alimony and alimony in futuro by the trial court was appropriate, and whether the trial court’s valuation of the husband’s medical practice was in error. The appellate court affirmed the trial court in all aspects reviewed and did not award legal fees to either party.

Valuing a minority interest with no information on the subject company

In a Maryland divorce case, neither valuation expert had any documents or financial information from the husband’s ambulatory surgical center (ASC) in which he owned a small interest.

Brown v. Brown

In this Mississippi divorce case, the appellate court en banc reversed in part and remanded in part, asking the trial court to determine whether certain items were marital property and determine the values for certain marital properties so a proper distribution of marital property can be made. Included was a used-car business that was remanded for a value to be determined. Several judges dissented primarily because the marital estate in total was not very material and they believed the appellate court could have made adjustments without remanding.

Mississippi Appeals Court En Banc Remands for Valuation of a Small Used-Car Business With Dissents From Several Judges

In this Mississippi divorce case, the appellate court en banc reversed in part and remanded in part, asking the trial court to determine whether certain items were marital property and determine the values for certain marital properties so a proper distribution of marital property can be made. Included was a used-car business that was remanded for a value to be determined. Several judges dissented primarily because the marital estate in total was not very material and they believed the appellate court could have made adjustments without remanding.

Goicochea v. Goicochea

This case was an appeal from a trial court’s various decisions relating to a divorce matter. Among other issues appealed, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s determination of the value of the husband’s small minority interest (0.829301%) in an ambulatory surgery center. The wife’s expert used a prior transaction of a 1.1125% in the center to determine the husband’s value.

Maryland Court Affirms the Value of Husband’s Minority Interest in an Ambulatory Surgery Center

This case was an appeal from a trial court’s various decisions relating to a divorce matter. Among other issues appealed, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s determination of the value of the husband’s small minority interest (0.829301%) in an ambulatory surgery center. The wife’s expert used a prior transaction of a 1.1125% in the center to determine the husband’s value.

Financial advisor’s book of business is not a marital asset

In a Tennessee divorce case, an appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court that the husband’s book of business as a financial advisor for UBS is not a marital asset.

Hollis v. Hollis

One of the main issues in this appeal was how to classify the husband’s “book of business,” i.e., his client relationships, assets under management, and related income. The husband was a financial advisor for UBS. The wife contended the book of business had value that constituted a marital asset. The husband pointed out that UBS now took the position that a financial advisor who left the company cannot take any information with him or her. The court also noted that “deferred cash agreements” were actually bonuses that were marital assets. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision to exclude the book of business from marital assets. The court also affirmed the trial court decision on payment of alimony to the wife “in futuro.”

The Tennessee Appeals Court Affirms the Trial Court’s Decision to Exclude From the Marital Estate Financial Advisor the Husband’s ‘Book of Business’

One of the main issues in this appeal was how to classify the husband’s “book of business,” i.e., his client relationships, assets under management, and related income. The husband was a financial advisor for UBS. The wife contended the book of business had value that constituted a marital asset. The husband pointed out that UBS now took the position that a financial advisor who left the company cannot take any information with him or her. The court also noted that “deferred cash agreements” were actually bonuses that were marital assets. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision to exclude the book of business from marital assets. The court also affirmed the trial court decision on payment of alimony to the wife “in futuro.”

Nothing personal about goodwill in dental practice

In a South Carolina divorce case, the appellate court reversed the family court on the issue of personal versus enterprise goodwill.

Bostick v. Bostick

The South Carolina Court of Appeals, in this divorce case, reversed the family court and included all goodwill of a dentistry practice as enterprise goodwill includable in the marital estate. The family court had included all of the goodwill as personal goodwill not part of the marital estate. The Court of Appeals also reduced the temporary monthly alimony.

Appellate Court Reversed Decision and Treated All Goodwill as Enterprise Goodwill Includable in the Marital Estate

The South Carolina Court of Appeals, in this divorce case, reversed the family court and included all goodwill of a dentistry practice as enterprise goodwill includable in the marital estate. The family court had included all of the goodwill as personal goodwill not part of the marital estate. The Court of Appeals also reduced the temporary monthly alimony.

In re Marriage of Brown

In this Illinois divorce case, the appellate court affirmed the circuit court’s determination of value of the husband’s business by the husband’s expert even though evidence was presented that the expert did not follow the AICPA Business Valuation Standards. Further, the husband’s expert did not consider any enterprise goodwill and used an unorthodox method to determine the value of the business. The wife’s expert asserted that the husband’s expert did not provide a fair market value but rather did a “calculation.” The appellate court also affirmed the circuit court’s decision not to exclude the testimony of the husband’s expert witness.

Illinois Appellate Court Does Not Accept Valuation Including Enterprise Goodwill

In this Illinois divorce case, the appellate court affirmed the circuit court’s determination of value of the husband’s business by the husband’s expert even though evidence was presented that the expert did not follow the AICPA Business Valuation Standards. Further, the husband’s expert did not consider any enterprise goodwill and used an unorthodox method to determine the value of the business. The wife’s expert asserted that the husband’s expert did not provide a fair market value but rather did a “calculation.” The appellate court also affirmed the circuit court’s decision not to exclude the testimony of the husband’s expert witness.

Letter to the Editor: A New Development in Personal Goodwil

Remarks and comments from BVR’s legal editor on a previous article that discussed Florida’s proposed legislation to clarify the value of goodwill in the marital interest of closely held businesses.

How to Explain Personal Goodwill to a Trier of Fact for a Divorce Valuation

This is an excerpt from the author’s upcoming sixth edition of Understanding Business Valuation, which will be available from BVR in early 2022.

Statistical Methodologies for Analyzing Active and Passive Appreciation

A rundown of the existing quantitative models that have been developed that separates the active and passive appreciation of a closely held business involved in a marital dissolution case. The models seek to statistically identify market forces that reasonably cause changes in the value of assets.

Appellate court KOs unaccrued interest on dissipated assets

In a divorce case, an appellate court vacated the order of the trial court that erroneously charged the husband with over $4 million in unaccrued interest on marital assets that the husband fraudulently dissipated from the marital estate.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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