2022 Family Law Team Conference Wrap-Up

In-person conferences are back in 2022 and so are we. Our professionals have been speaking at and attending numerous conferences, so we thought it a good idea to reflect on a few of these conferences and share selected PowerPoint decks with you. Why? Because there are valuable materials on valuation, forensic and financial topics included in these PowerPoint decks.

The Importance of Normalizing Financial Statements for a Business Valuation

What is normal? A question we seem to have been asking ourselves for the last few years. When it comes to making sense of the “normal” in this new day and age, we cannot offer any advice there. But we can speak on the process and importance of normalizing financial statements for a business valuation.

Importance of an Independent Informed Valuation

In contested cases where a business interest comprises a significant portion of a divorcing couple’s net worth, it is common for one or both parties to retain a business appraiser to value the business. Post-divorce, if only one spouse retains an interest in the business, all else equal, a higher business interest value typically implies the other party will receive a greater share of the remaining marital assets, as compared to a lower business interest value. As we will discuss in this article, the facts and circumstances of the business interest being valued may reasonably support various assumptions when comparing two valuation conclusions.

Valuing Stock Options of Start-up Companies: A Complex Issue in Marital Dissolutions

The valuation of stock options is a complex issue that divorcing parties may face during the determination and division of the marital estate. Designed as compensation to both reward past performance and retain employees in the future, these benefits can be difficult to value, particularly at a specific point in time for the purpose of marital dissolution. In this article, we walk through an example of how to value a not so simple stock option situation – one in a start-up company.

Meet the Team – David W. R. Harkins, CFA, ABV

In each “Meet the Team” segment, we highlight a different professional on our Family Law team. In this segment, we highlight David Harkins. David works in our Nashville office and is a member of the firm’s Litigation Services Support team.

Active vs. Passive Appreciation of Closely Held Companies

Determining the value and classification of financial assets can be challenging during a divorce proceeding. The value of a couple’s closely held business could be the most valuable asset in the marital estate. If the business was owned prior to marriage, the identification and quantification of any appreciation as active or passive could be critical to the overall marital value placed on that asset.

Understand the Asset Approach in a Business Valuation

In previous posts, we wrote about the income and market approaches used in business valuations. This article presents a broad overview of the third approach, the asset approach. While each approach should be considered, the approach(es) ultimately relied upon will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of each situation.

Meet the Team – Z. Christopher Mercer, FASA, CFA, ABAR

In each “Meet the Team” segment, we highlight a different professional on our Family Law team. This segment we highlight Chris Mercer. Chris is the Chariman here at Mercer and is active in family law litigation and corporate valuation.

Meet the Team – Karolina Calhoun, CPA/ABV/CFF

In each “Meet the Team” segment, we highlight a different professional on our Family Law team. This segment we highlight Karolina Calhoun, CPA/ABV/CFF. Karolina is a Vice President here at Mercer and is active in family law litigation and corporate valuation.

Understand the Income Approach in a Business Valuation

In this article, we’ll be presenting a broad overview of the income approach.  The final approach, the asset-based approach, will discussed in a future article.  While each approach should be considered, the approach(es) ultimately relied upon will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of each situation. 

Meet the Team – Scott A. Womack, ASA, MAFF

In each “Meet the Team” segment, we highlight a different professional on our Family Law team. This segment we highlight Scott Womack, ASA, MAFF. Scott is a Senior Vice President here at Mercer and is active in family law litigation and corporate valuation. Scott also leads our Auto Dealership Industry team.

Understand the Discount Rate Used in a Business Valuation

The discount rate is the key factor in business valuation that converts future dollars into present value as of the valuation date. In this article, we examine the various components of a discount rate.  Then, we relate the discount rate to rates of return of other investments that should provide a commonsense road map for what is reasonable and what is not.

Personal Goodwill: An Illustrative Example of an Auto Dealership

Personal goodwill was an issue in several of our recent litigated divorce engagements. It is more prevalent in certain industries than others and varies from matter to matter. However, although there are several accepted methodologies to determine personal goodwill, there is not a textbook that discusses where it exists and where it doesn’t. Before any attempts to measure and quantify it, an important question to ask is “Does it exist?” Often with ambiguous concepts like personal goodwill, the adage “you know it when you see it” is most appropriate. In this article, we examine personal and enterprise goodwill using a specific fact pattern unique to the auto dealership industry. Beyond this illustrative example, the analyses can be applied in other industries, but must be considered carefully for the unique facts and circumstances of each matter.

The Importance of the Valuation Date in Divorce

The valuation date represents the point in time at which the business, or business interest(s), is being valued. Understanding the valuation date of an asset valuation, such as a privately held business, for marital dissolution is an important consideration, especially for matters which have extended over a lengthy time and those that may be impacted by significant global events such as COVID-19. An accurate and timely valuation should consider current conditions and future expectations.

Valuation of Stock Options for Marital Dissolution

The valuation of stock options is a complex issue that divorcing parties may face during the determination and division of property. Designed to both reward performance and retain employees, these benefits can be difficult to value, particularly at a random moment for the purpose of marital dissolution.

Why Involve a Financial Expert in Divorce Mediations

Most family law cases settle at mediation or prior to trial. For example, Tennessee requires that parties must attempt to settle their cases at mediation prior to granting a trial date. Considering both of these facts, when should a family law attorney involve a financial expert in divorce mediations?

Lessons from Recent Engagements

In our family law practice, we serve as valuation and financial forensic expert witnesses. There is typically another valuation expert on “the other side.” In several recent engagements, the following topics, posed as questions here, were raised as points of contention. We present them here to help the reader, whether you are a family law attorney or a party to a divorce, understand certain valuation-related issues that may be raised in your matter.