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Bowen v. Bowen

473 A.2d 73 (1984)

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Bowen v. Bowen

New Jersey Supreme Court

473 A.2d 73 (1984)

Facts

Frances Bowen (plaintiff) and James Bowen (defendant) separated after 24 years of marriage. James Bowen formed Polycel Corporation during the marriage and was a 22 percent minority shareholder of the closely held corporation. Frances’s expert valued the stock at $338,279, and James’s expert valued it at $70,854. The experts disagreed on what valuation formulas to use and what factors to include in the valuation. There was a buy-sell agreement in place for Polycel, but the trial court held it could not be used to determine Polycel’s stock value because it (1) was not up to date, (2) did not include goodwill or other intangibles in the value, and (3) did not have a process to value stock except when a stockholder either sold his stock outright or died. In the face of conflicting expert testimony, the trial court held that it could not set a value for the Polycel stock and instead ruled James would retain full ownership of the stock and Frances would get an equitable one-half interest in the stock, including entitlement to one-half of all dividends and sale proceeds. The award was subject to certain restrictions on both James and Polycel intended to protect Frances’s interest. James appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (O’Hern, J.)

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