1. In re Marriage of Foster, 42 Cal.App.3d 577, 117 Cal. Rptr 49 (1974). The Foster court defines goodwill as “the advantage…acquired by an establishment beyond the mere value of the capital stock, funds or property employed therein, in consequence of the general public patronage and encouragement which it receives from constant or habitual customers…. Goodwill is property of an intangible nature and is a thing of value.” Id. at 581-82 (citing In re Lyons, 27 Cal. App. 293, 297 (1938); see also Piedmont Publishing Co. v. Rogers 193 Cal.App 2d 171 (1961).
2. Foster, 42 Cal. App 3d at 583.
3. See Rev. Rul. 59-60, 1959-1 C.B. 237.
4. Code Civ. Proc. § 1263.320(b): “The fair market value of property taken for which there is no relevant market is its value on the date of valuation as determined by any method of valuation that is just and equitable.”
5. Foster, 42 Cal.App.3d 577.
6. Id. at 580 (quoting the expert).
7. Id. at 580.
8. In re Marriage of Hewitson, 142 Cal.App. 3d 874, 191 Cal. Rptr 392 (1983).
9. Id. at 888 (holding that Fam. Code § 2550, former Civ. Code § 4800(a), does not require the value of closely held shares to be determined by market value).
10. The International Glossary of Business Valuation Terms (2000) [hereinafter International Glossary] defines “investment value” as “[t]he value to a particular owner investor based on individual investment requirements and expectations.”
11. Hewitson, 142 Cal. App. 3d 874 n.9 (quoting Rev. Rul. 59-60, 1959-1 C.B. 237). Rev Rul. 59-60, 1959-1 C.B. 237). Rev. Rul 59-60 lists factors for determining intrinsic value:
(a) The nature of the business and the history of the enterprise from its inception.
(b) The economic outlook in general and the condition and outlook of the specific industry in particular.
(c) The book value of the stock and the financial condition of the business.
(d) The earning capacity of the company.
(e) The dividend paying capacity.
(f) Whether or not the enterprise has goodwill or other intangible value.
(g) Sales of stock and the size of the block of stock to be valued.
12. Hewitson, 142 Cal.App. 3d at 880 (citing in re Marriage of Lotz, 120 Cal.App. 3d 379, 174 Cal. Rptr 618(1981)). See also Stephen Adams, California Family Law Practice § G.67.1 (15th ed. 2000) [hereinafter Adams]. It seems possible that although a price earnings formula of a publicly held company might be based on factors not normally present in a closely held corporation, a qualified expert might be able to identify those different considerations and adjust the public formula accordingly.
13. In re Marriage of Foster, 42 Cal. App. 3d 577, 580, 117 Cal. Rptr. 49 (1974).
14. In re Marriage of Sharp, 143 Cal.App. 3d 714, 192 Cal. Rptr 97 (1983).
15. International Glossary, supra note 10, defines “going concern value” as “[t]he value of a business that is expected to continue to operate into the future. The intangible elements…result from factors such as having a trained work force, an operational plant, and the necessary licenses, systems, and procedures in place.” Going concern value equals the overall value of the business, minus net asset value, and unlike goodwill, it does not involve excess earnings.
16. Sharp, 143 Cal.App. 3d at 719.
17. See Adams, supra note 12, at § G.67.9. Adams argues that Hewitson “appears to be the stronger of the two cases.” On the other hand, Sharp is important because it reaffirms the standard of value as fair market value, as opposed to the vague investment value standard in Hewitson.
18. In re Marriage of Foster, 42 Cal.App. 3d 577, 117 Cal. Rptr. 49 (1974).
19. Mark Kohn, A Theoretical Basis for Using Three Practices, Family Law News, Spring 1995, at 5.
20. Rev. Rul. 68-609, 1967-1 C.B. 576, indicates that the excess earnings approach is calculated as follows: a percentage return on the average annual value of the tangible assets used in a business is determined, using a period of years (preferably not less than five) immediately prior to the valuation date. The amount of the percentage return on tangible assets, thus determined, is deducted from the average earnings of the business for such period. The remainder, if any, is considered to be the amount of the average annual earnings from the tangible assets of the business for the period. This amount, capitalized at a percentage of 15 to 20 percent, is the value of the tangible assets of the business. But see Garrett Dailey, Attorney’s Briefcase, in California Family Law (ver. 1999.3) [hereinafter Dailey], which argues for a smaller capitalization rate.
21. Helga White, Professional Goodwill: Is It a Settled Question or is There “Value” in Discussing It?, 15 J. Am. Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 526-27 (1998) (quoting Mocnik v. Mocnik, 838 P.2d 500, 505 (Okla. 1992)).
22. Rev. Rul. 59-60, 1959-1 C.B. 237.
23. In re Marriage of Watts, 171 Cal.App. 3d 366, 217 Cal. Rptr 301 (1985).
24. Compare In re Marriage of Webb, 94 Cal.App. 3d 335, 156 Cal. Rptr 334 (1979) (appellate court affirmed a trial court that took wife’s experts testimony that the value of the goodwill of Webb’s business was $31,468 and balanced that with Webb’s testimony that the goodwill of the business had no market value and found a value between the two of $16,000) with In re Marriage of Hargrave, 163 Cal. App. 3d 346, 209 Cal. Rptr 764 (1985) (disapproving of the Webb court’s splitting the difference).
25. In re Marriage of Slivka, 183 Cal. App. 3d 159, 228 Cal. Rptr 76 (1986).
26. In re Marriage of Aufmuth, 289 Cal. App. 3d 446, 152 Cal. Rptr 668 (1979), disapproved on other grounds in In re Marriage of Lucas, 27 Cal. 3d 808 (1980). Aufmuth states that a finding of no goodwill is appropriate in certain situations.
27. Id. at 463. The court stated that the exclusion of goodwill in the buy-sell agreement was only one of the factors indicating that the employed spouse had not amassed any goodwill. See also In re Marriage of Nichols, 27 Cal. App 4th 661, 33 Cal. Rptr 2d 13 (1994). But note criticism of buy-sell agreements in In re Marriage of Fortier, 34 Cal. App. 3d 384, 388, 109 Cal. Rptr 915 (1973).
28. See Dailey, supra note 20 (quoting Rev. Rul 59-609, 1967.1 C.B. 576).
29. Marriage of Winn, 98 Cal. App. 3d 363, 367, 159 Cal. Rptr 554 (1979) (quoting Kennedy & Thomas, Putting a Value on Education and Professional Goodwill, 2 Family Law Advocate 3, 4 (1979) with approval). In consideration of goodwill, the court put a value on a horse slaughtering business with no sales value. The court in Haldeman v. Haldeman, 202 Cal. App 2d 498 (1962), found this concept valid in valuing a pharmacist’s business.
30. Hanson v. Hanson, 738 S.W. 428, 435 (Mo. 1987). Texas, Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania adhere strictly to the standard of fair market value.
31. More than two dozen states allow the sale of law practices, and information on the market value of law practices is accumulating. See, e.g., Edward Poll, Tool Kit for Buying or Selling a Law Practice (1998).
32. In re Marriage of Hewitson, 142 Cal. App. 3d 874, 191 Cal. Rptr 392 (1983) (price paid in merger may not be competent evidence because the pressures are different from those in the open market).
33. Statistical Abstract of the United States (1989), tables nos. 323 and 672.
34. In re Marriage of Fortier, 34 Cal.App.3d 384, 388, 109 Cal. Rptr 915 (1973).
35. See In re Marriage of Rosan, 24 Cal.App.3d 885, 101 Cal. Rptr 295 (1972); In re Marriage of Aufmuth, 289 Cal. App. 3d 446, 152 Cal. Rptr 668 (1979), disapproved on other grounds in Marriage of Lucas, 27 Cal. 3d 808, 815, 166 Cal. Rptr 853 (1980); In re Marriage of Micalizio, 199 Cal.App. 3d 622, 245 Cal. Rptr 673 (1988) (buy-sell when interest was a minority interest). But see Marriage of Slater, 100 Cal. App. 3d 241, 160 Cal. Rptr 686 (1979) (the buy-sell was not binding, because it was not signed for the purpose of dissolution) and Marriage of Fenton, 134 Cal. App 3d 451, 184 Cal. Rptr. 597 (1982).
36. The practitioner cannot rely on In re Marriage of Aufmuth, 289 Cal. App. 3d 446, which considered the stock purchase agreement as one factor in finding there was no goodwill in new partner’s interest.
37. In re Marriage of Foster, 42 Cal.App. 3d 577, 117 Cal. Rptr. 49 (1974). Judges are more likely to be receptive to this argument if evidence of market value is presented to the court. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard E. Denner wrote, “If the goodwill cannot legally be transferred, it should not be valued. What should be valued is goodwill at market price. Formulas that are not used in actual sales are inappropriate.”
Richard E. Denner, Goodwill, Valuation and Economic Reality, Cal. Family L. Monthly, Nov. 1988, at 144. There is a long line of cases that hold that the value of goodwill is not necessarily what a willing buyer would pay for it. See, e.g., Marriage of Winn, 98 Cal. App. 3d 363, 159 Cal. Rptr 554 (1979); Marriage of Watts, 171 Cal. App. 3d 366 (1985); Marriage of Hargrave, 163 Cal. App. 3d 346, 209 Cal. Rptr 764 (1985).
38. Another inequity in the treatment of business owners in a marital dissolution is the problem of double dipping, in which the same funds are distributed through an order for spousal support and in the equalizing payment to compensate the nonowner spouse for an interest in the business. The owner spouse also may be obligated to pay child support. The argument that accounts receivable should be included in the business valuation because the same funds would be paid as child and spousal support was rejected in In re Marriage of Marx, 97 Cal. App. 3d 552, 159 Cal. Rptr. 1224 (1979). See Adams, supra note 12, at § G.29.1.
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