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Cases of Interest: Professional Practices
National Legal Research Group, Inc.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: McDiarmid v. McDiarmid, 649 A.2d 810 (D.C. 1994).
The good will of a law practice acquired during a marriage is marital property, but good will could not be included in the value of the husband's law partnership interest because the governing partnership agreement would preclude him from realizing a share of the firm's good will if he terminated his employment or sold his partnership interest.
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FLORIDA: Williams v. Williams, 683 So. 2d 1119 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1996).
The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it reduced the value of the husband's stock in his law firm by 20% because he held only a minority interest in the firm and the stock was not readily marketable.
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FLORIDA: Weinstock v. Weinstock, 634 So. 2d 775 (Fla. DCA 1994).
Inclusion of good will as a marital asset was improper because the evidence failed to establish a value for the good will apart from the husband's continued presence.
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FLORIDA: Staman v. Staman, 622 So. 2d 1147 (Fla. DCA 1993).
Accounts receivable from husband's medical practice should have been included in the valuation of marital assets.
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ILLINOIS: In re Marriage of Claydon, ___ Ill. App. 3d ___, 715 N.E.2d 1201 (1999).
The husband's shares in an oral surgery practice should be valued at a price reflecting the hard assets of the practice rather than their value upon the husband's retirement, death, or disability.
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ILLINOIS: In re Marriage of Lee, 246 Ill. App. 3d 628, 615 N.E.2d 1314 (1993).
Accounts receivable were properly included in the valuation of the husband's medical practice.
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INDIANA: In re Marriage of Conner, 713 N.E.2d 883 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999).
Remand for redetermination of the value of a radiology practice was ordered, where the values of personal goodwill and enterprise goodwill were not distinguished. The trial court erred in using a "marketability discount" in calculating the value of the practice.
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INDIANA: Yoon v. Yoon, 687 N.E.2d 201 (Ind. Ct. App. 1997).
The goodwill of the husband's sole medical practice was properly included in the marital estate.
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LOUISIANA: Barrow v. Barrow, 669 So. 2d 622 (La. Ct. App. 1996).
When valuing the husband's accounts receivable as part of his medical practice, it was necessary to take into account the husband's average historical rate of collection as well as state and federal income tax liability.
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MARYLAND: Strauss v. Strauss, 101 Md. App. 490, 647 A.2d 818 (1994).
Reliance on testimony of the wife's expert regarding the value of good will for the husband's oral surgery practice was error, because the expert did not isolate the personal components of the good will value of the practice.
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NEBRASKA: Kricsfeld v. Kricsfeld, 8 Neb. Ct. App. 1, 588 N.W.2d 210 (1999).
It was an abuse of discretion to value the husband's medical practice by a capitalized earnings approach and to consider offers to purchase the practice which included amounts for covenants not to compete.
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NEW YORK: Burns v. Burns, 84 N.Y.2d 369, 618 N.Y.S.2d 761 (1994).
The wife's proof of the value of the husband's interest in his law firm partnership should not have been limited to the value of his capital account, and she should have been allowed discovery to evaluate the value of his interest.
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NEW YORK: Vicinanzo v. Vicinanzo, ___ A.D.2d ___, 598 N.Y.S.2d 362 (1993).
Trial court could value husband's solo law practice without the aid of expert testimony by averaging his annual earnings, but should have excluded an unusually large, nonrecurring fee from its calculations.
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NEW YORK: Block v. Block, ___ A.D.2d ___, 685 N.Y.S.2d 443 (1999).
Contingency fee cases that the husband had commenced before the parties' divorce action were marital property, but the fees should be divided in proportion to the amount of time expended on the cases during the marriage and after the marriage rather than awarding the wife an arbitrary percentage of the fees.
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NEW YORK: Grunfeld v. Grunfeld, 94 N.Y.2d 696, 731 N.E.2d 142 (2000).
To avoid double counting of income, the value of the husband's law practice could not be fully distributed as a marital asset without a corresponding adjustment of the maintenance award, and the valuation of the law practice at the date that the divorce action commenced, rather than at the date of trial, was appropriate.
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NEW YORK: Granade-Bastuck v. Bastuck, ___ A.D.2d ___, 671 N.Y.S.2d 512 (1998).
Given the wife's relatively minimal role in the husband's law career, her distributive share of his practice should be reduced from 40% to 25%.
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NORTH CAROLINA: Carlson v. Carlson, ___ N.C. App. ___, 487 S.E.2d 784 (1997).
The trial court did not abuse its discretion by utilizing national salary statistics to calculate the goodwill component of the husband's medical practice.
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NORTH CAROLINA: Sharp v. Sharp, ___ N.C. App. ___, 449 S.E.2d 39 (1994).
The trial court did not err when it valued the husband's partnership interest in his law firm by adopting a valuation methodology that averaged the result of several different methodologies, where the wife had not presented evidence of an alternative methodology or valuation.
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OHIO: Frost v. Frost, 84 Ohio App. 3d 699, 618 N.E.2d 198 (1992) (published 1993).
Trial court did not abuse its discretion by classifying husband's law practice, which had been started 10 years before the marriage, as his separate property, while characterizing the income generated from the practice during the marriage as marital property.
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PENNSYLVANIA: Naddeo v. Naddeo, ___ Pa. Super. ___, 626 A.2d 608 (1993).
Where the husband's law firm was voluntarily dissolved after the parties' separation but before a decree of equitable distribution, his partnership interest should be valued before the voluntary dissolution, and the value of his interest should be determined by applying the partnership agreement.
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PENNSYLVANIA: Perlberger v. Perlberger, ___ Pa. Super. ___, 626 A.2d 1186 (1993).
Where husband withdrew from a partnership after separation and established a sole proprietorship, the distribution he received from the partnership was marital property, but no part of his new practice was marital property even though he took a substantial inventory of contingent fee cases with him when he left the partnership and started his solo practice.
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SOUTH CAROLINA: McElveen v. McElveen, ___ S.C. ___, 506 S.E.2d 1 (Ct. App. 1998).
The most probative evidence of the husband's interest in his medical practice was the governing stock purchase agreement.
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TENNESSEE: Jahn v. Jahn, 932 S.W.2d 939 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1996).
The husband's interest in the assets of his law practice must be classified as marital property without offsetting the value of his interest in his law firm assets at the time of the parties' marriage, because the assets that existed at the time of the marriage no longer existed, and the assets now in existence were acquired during the parties' marriage.
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VERMONT: Mills v. Mills, ___ Vt. ___, 702 A.2d 79 (1997).
Where the wife worked on a contract basis for other attorneys, her future work as a lawyer had no value subject to equitable distribution.
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WEST VIRGINIA: Durnell v. Durnell, 194 W. Va. 464, 460 S.E.2d 710 (1995).
When valuing the husband's medical practice, it was necessary to subtract taxes that would be owed on the accounts receivable and current expenses payable on the date of valuation.
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WEST VIRGINIA: White v. Williamson, ___ W. Va. ___, 453 S.E.2d 666 (1994).
After classifying the husband's share of a contingent fee, the trial court was required to value the fee and then actually divide it.
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WISCONSIN: Sharon v. Sharon, 178 Wis. 2d 481, 504 N.W.2d 415 (Ct. App. 1993).
Husband's accounts receivable from medical practice were properly classified as assets subject to property division.
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WISCONSIN: Forester v. Forester, 174 Wis. 2d 78, 496 N.W.2d 771 (Ct. App. 1993).
Trial court did not adequately explain why it decided to exclude business debts from its valuation of husband's solo law practice.
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