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Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 05-16-2012
Case #: A144993
Schuman, P.J. for the Court, Wollheim, J., and Nakamoto, J. dissenting.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A144993.pdf

Family Law: It is legally permissible and within the trial court's discretion to decide to not distribute shares to one spouse in a closely held corporation in exchange for an equalizing judgment.

Wife appealed a trial court`s distribution of property. Husband and Wife were married for 14 years at the time of dissolution. Husband was employed at a closely held corporation and had worked out an agreement with the current owners that gifted 1.25 shares in the corporation to Husband and Wife per year. This would continue until they owned 51 percent of the company. The trial court found that the value of the shares was too speculative because the shares did not have a market value independent of the corporation since they were only a minority interest in the corporation, and would not have value until liquidated. As a result, the trial court ordered each party to retain his or her shares in the corporation. On appeal, Wife argued that the Court should instead distribute Wife’s shares to Husband and Husband should pay Wife an equalizing judgment for the value of the shares. The Court reviewed for abuse of discretion and held that when adequately supported by the record, it is legally permissible for the trial court to not distribute Wife’s shares in exchange for an equalizing judgment. Given that the value of the shares was too speculative, the trial court did not abuse its discretion. Affirmed.