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Miller v. Miller, S10A1707

*All courts mentioned are at the state level.

Asset, Income, and Market approach to valuation.  Supreme Court found:

Husband claimed using Market approach inappropriate, as there is no market for solo medical practices.  Supreme Court found that:

Husband contended that capitalization of excess earnings was error because he paid himself a normal salary which left no excess earnings.  Supreme Court found that:

Husband claimed his income was counted twice by awarding portions of his business in both the Alimony/Child Support awards and Property Division award (which the trial court called “business alimony”).  Supreme Court found:

Goodwill

Husband claimed “professional goodwill” cannot be divided as marital property.

Two types of goodwill:

Key Person Discount – One method of quantifying personal goodwill.

Wife’s expert stated Key Person Discount not applicable because Husband could be replaced by another doctor, and any patient attrition was taken into account by use of Market approach (where a Key Person Discount is already adjusted for in the purchase price of comparable practices) and higher capitalization rate in the other methods (as a means of reflecting risk that some patients would leave).  An additional Key Person Discount on top of this would count personal goodwill twice.

Trial court’s label of “Business Alimony” not controlling. Award, which stated number of payments, gross amount paid, and had no contingencies, was a property settlement.

Source of Funds

Husband contended the source of funds for the marital residence and Amelia Island lot was a “prior residence” purchased with premarital funds prior to marriage.  Supreme Court found the “prior residence” was transformed into marital property where:

Husband argued that down payment on marital residence was made with business funds that were then replaced by proceeds of sale of “prior residence.”  Trial court properly concluded Husband did not use his own personal funds for down payment on marital residence, and Husband actually conveyed marital residence to both parties on the day it was purchased, where:

Parties borrowed against the equity in the marital residence to purchase the Amelia Island lot.  Since marital residence determined to be joint marital property, so was Amelia lot.

Criminal Contempt

Supreme Court reversed trial court’s finding where: