Business Founded During Marriage is Marital … But Not Necessarily All of Its Value is Marital Property Required to Be Divided Between the Spouses

When either spouse starts a business or practice during a marriage, that business is marital property.

If one spouse earns his or her living working in that business or practice, that is the source of the couple’s income.

A Wisconsin dentist-Husband and his Wife were married for twenty years. During the marriage, Husband started his dental practice and Wife stayed home.

The practice is valued at $1 million and Husband is ordered to pay alimony of $16,000 per month.

Husband appeals the trial court’s rulings, asserting that a significant portion of the practice’s value represents goodwill and that that portion is nonmarital and should not be divided between the spouses but retained by Husband.

Husband also asserts that the alimony award double-dips into the cash flow encapsulated into the valuation of the practice.

On appeal, Wisconsin’s intermediate appellate court upheld the trial court’s rulings, finding that marketable goodwill is subject to equitable distribution between spouses.

The appellate court felt that Husband had not fully developed this argument and was not persuasive on this point.

Florida case law applies different terminology (“personal goodwill” versus “enterprise goodwill”) and engages in a different analysis of the facts. This would likely lead to a somewhat different result in a similar case to the one reported.

Read more in this Wisconsin Law Journal article: Commentary: Salable professional goodwill as divisible property.

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Reference for Possible Steps to Take if Your Child is Abducted Abroad Whether or Not Hague Convention of Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Applies

International child abduction is not a new problem, but it is a growing problem.

A comprehensive, if somewhat dated list of steps a parent may take if their child is abducted is excerpted and cited below.

  • Request revocation of the other parent’s passport
  • Request revocation or suspension of the other parent’s green card.
  • Request assistance from INTERPOL.
  • Follow / trace the money that the other parent is using.
  • File in a US court for custody and return of your child
  • File in the foreign court for custody and return of your child
  • and much more.

Read much more in this disjointed San Francisco All Voices news article: How do mainstream media cover international child custody disputes? because there is still some good information there.

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Father Acquitted of Murder and Child Abuse of Baby Son

Father and five month old Son are staying with relatives in Florida.

Father falls asleep with Son lying on a queen-sized bed.

When Father awakens, Son is face-down at the edge of the bed, stuck against a dresser.

Son isn’t breathing.

Father administers CPR but is unable to revive Son.

Father yells for help and Aunt calls 911.

Paramedics are also unable to revive Son.

Father is very distraught and police Baker Act him (that is, take him into protective custody for psychiatric evaluation).

Medical examiners call Son’s death a homicide due to presence of extensive injuries, including broken ribs, ruptured bowel and internal bleeding.

Police eventually arrest Father for first degree murder and aggravated child abuse.

At his trial, Father maintains that Son’s ribs were broken in a fall weeks before Son’s death. Father reasons that the other injuries resulted from his failed CPR efforts.

Jury acquits Father on both murder and child abuse charges.

Read more in this Tampa Tribune article: Hillsborough jury acquits father in son’s death.

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Russian Authorities Seize Any Available Personal Property for Back Child Support

Husband and Wife divorce. Husband is ordered to pay child support for Daughter.

Husband stops paying child support in the fall of 2009. Husband alleges that he was unable to work due to illness, but produces no corroboration.

Law enforcement authorities set out to attach some of Husband’s property to auction it off to reduce Husband’s child support arrearages.

And the authorities do in fact seize … four beehives on Husband’s property. Worth less than one fifth of the amount of Husband’s arrearages.

Read more in this Russian News and Information Agency RIA Novosti article: Bees seized.

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In India, Marriage May Not Support Alimony Claim if Premarital Religious Conversion Can’t Be Proved Twenty Years Later or Wasn’t Sufficiently Spiritually Motivated

Out of India …

Wife files for divorce from Husband in twenty year marriage.

Wife asks the Indian divorce court to award her alimony and spousal support.

Wife alleges that she converted to the Hindu religion prior to their marriage, and that she and Husband had a religious wedding ceremony in accordance with the Hindu religion.

Under Indian divorce law governing marriages between spouses of the Hindu faith, a wife may seek alimony – but apparently not so between spouses of other faiths.

Despite the length of this couple’s marriage, however, the Indian high court denies Wife’s request for alimony, finding that Wife has not proved that she did in fact convert to Hindu prior to the marriage and that the marriage may therefore not have been valid from its inception.

The Indian court appears to rationalize, in essence, that too many Indians insincerely convert from one religion to another, not for spiritual motivations, but to manipulate the law to their own legal advantage in family court, or otherwise.

With regard to the particular case before it, the appellate court apparently finds that Wife duplicitously spent twenty years of her life in a sham and/or fraudulent marriage, scheming all along to capitalize on the alimony law available to Indian Hindus, in the event the couple ever divorced.

While this case is from India, spouses should be aware that alimony laws in the United States are being reviewed, challenged and, in some cases, updated to reflect changes in the times.

Read more in this Times of India article: HC refuses alimony to ‘converted’ woman.

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