Trial Court Within Discretion Adopting Value from Testifying CPA

Case: Brian Weigel v. April Weigel 
by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

HELD: Trial court acted within its discretion when it adopted a value for Husband’s business that was presented by a testifying CPA, even though the CPA did not make an affirmative effort to determine what portion of that value, if any, might be attributable to Husband’s personal goodwill.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
Husband is the owner of a hoof trimming business. At the final hearing for the parties’ dissolution of marriage, Wife called a CPA who had prepared a valuation of Husband’s business. The CPA testified that, under an income approach, Husband’s business was worth $184,000, and under a market approach, it was worth $45,300. The CPA testified that either approach could include enterprise goodwill, personal goodwill, or both. However, he did testify as to any breakdown in his specific valuation of Husband’s business.

Husband offered no evidence of his own as to the value of his business, other than his own testimony that it had a negative value.

In its Decree, the trial court adopted the CPA’s lower $45,300 value for Husband’s business, from which Husband appealed.

In its opinion, the Court of Appeals rejected Husband’s argument that the trial court’s value on his business erroneously included personal goodwill. There was no evidence presented by either party that any portion of the $45,300 value constituted personal goodwill; instead, the CPA had merely testified that the valuation method he used could include goodwill in its product.

The trial court’s conclusion of value on Husband’s business was affirmed.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: Brian Weigel v. April Weigel

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James A. Reed and Michael R. Kohlhaas of Bingham Greenebaum Doll represent clients in a wide spectrum of relationship transition and wealth planning matters, including premarital agreements, estate planning, cohabitation, separation, divorce (especially involving high net worth individuals and/or complex asset issues), custody, parenting arrangements, adoption, and domestic partnerships. Bingham Greenebaum Doll, a multidisciplinary law firm serving regional, national, and international clients, is the fourth-largest law firm in Indiana. The firm’s main practices include corporate, property, litigation, labor, government law, and personal services law. Visit the firm’s website at www.bgdlegal.com.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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