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Oregon Court of Appeals


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Rodenbeck and Rodenbeck

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 11-09-2011
Case #: A138922
Armstrong, J. for the Court; Haselton, P.J.; & Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A138922.pdf

Family Law: In a marriage dissolution, it is not just and proper to reduce the value of a spouse’s share of a marital asset to reflect the taxes the other spouse may owe on the income he or she uses to pay the spouse. Also, a court should not rely on an expert’s value that is based on a guess from a non-expert.

Husband and wife hired experts in their marriage dissolution to determine the value of the company that husband co-owned. The experts’ valuations differed and the trial court found husband’s expert was more credible. Husband’s expert periodically re-evaluated the company’s value to reflect the most recent information. The trial court used the value that husband’s expert generated in reliance on a forecast by the co-owner, who was not an expert and was basically guessing. On appeal, wife assigned error to the trial court’s valuation of the company and to the reduction of that value to compensate for income taxes husband expected to pay. The Court of Appeals deferred to the trial court’s judgment to use husband’s expert’s figures. However, the Court used a different value that husband’s expert generated purely on historical figures. The Court also found that the trial court erred when it reduced wife’s share of husband’s interest in the company to take into account the income taxes. Thus the dissolution judgment was modified in accordance with these new figures, but otherwise affirmed.