The Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the Shenendoah County Circuit Court in adopting an expert's valuation of a law partner's share at $308,439 based on distributions, draws and bonuses, and rejecting the opposing expert's valuation of the share at $20,000, which the parthership agreement said partners would receive upon leaving the partnership. And in awarding the wife 47% of the larger value figure. The case is Brake v. Brake, decided 4/1/14,
I think mostly this stands as a warning to lawyers, experts, and clients, that if you take a position that is too extreme, perhaps in hopes of influencing the overall outcome in your direction, your position may instead be rejected out of hand as ridiculous, and the outcome may be exactly what your opponent is asking for.
Note to our lay-person and media readers: This case is completely in line with long-standing Virginia case law on valuing businesses. This is NOT an unprecedented move toward Virginia recognizing "human capital" and "earning potential" as something to divide in a divorce. Those things are not divided in Virginia divorces when they are not part of a business that a spouse owns, or owns part of. In fact, when valuing a business interest, you try to measure the litigant's earnings from the business MINUS his earnings from his ongoing personal efforts.