Valuation and discounts not optional, says high court in 'McCulloch' divorce case


McCulloch v. McCulloch, 2013 R.I. LEXIS 113 (June 25, 2013)

Context is everything. When three experts in an acrimonious divorce case that involved assets of over $100 million related to two closely held companies were unable to value the assets, the trial court circumvented the issue by ordering an in-kind distribution that left the wife a minority shareholder in the family businesses. Not surprisingly, she contested both the lack of a valuation before division of the assets and the interest she received. The Rhode Island Supreme Court agreed with her as to both arguments. Even though this very court had implemented a rule not to apply a minority discount or discount for lack of marketability in the context of an action for shareholder dissolution, the high court said, both discounts were "appropriate, and even necessary, when valuing an in-kind distribution of a minority share in a closely-held corporation in a divorce action."

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