Wife’s Expected Award from Marital Minority Interest in Close Corporation Slashed Because Company Bought Back Husband’s Stock and Discontinued His Generous Bonuses

Husband and Wife are in a twenty year marriage. Wife seeks a divorce.

This is a contentious case. Nine years in the making.

Yes, you really did read that right and no, that isn’t a typo.

This is a complex case.

Husband is a shareholder in a family business (Company). A minority shareholder in a business founded by his father.

A profitable business. A business that had been known to pay Husband bonuses on the order of $250,000 per year before Wife filed for divorce.

But after Wife filed for divorce, there were some big changes at Company.

For starters, Company did a reverse stock split and bought back Husband’s stock. And once Husband was no longer an owner, Company discontinued Husband’s bonuses.

Wife argued that the discontinued bonuses should have been imputed to Husband anyway.

But the Illinois family trial court disagreed. Husband received fair market value for his stock. Husband’s father was left the sole owner of Company and thereafter received all of the profits.

Wife was unable to prove that the stock purchase was a sham and that the bonuses were later going to be paid to Husband. Or that Husband’s father or Company did anything improper.

So Wife’s award in the divorce turned out to be significantly less than she had expected.

Read more in this Expert Institute article: Economics Expert Evaluates Financial Obfuscation in Divorce Proceeding.