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Marriage of Slater

Court of Appeal of California
160 Cal. Rptr. 686 (1979)


Mrs. Slater (plaintiff) and Mr. Slater (defendant) were married from 1958 to 1975. Mr. Slater was a doctor and partner in a medical practice that had a partnership agreement, executed by both Mr. Slater and Mrs. Slater. The partnership agreement provided that, should Mr. Slater die, withdraw, or be expelled from the partnership, the partnership could repurchase Mr. Slater's ownership interest. The agreement specifically stated that part of the purchase price would represent Mr. Slater's interest in the partnership's goodwill. At the time that Mr. Slater and Mrs. Slater separated, Mr. Slater had $6,100 in his capital account and $25,250 in his accounts receivables. Mrs. Slater's accountant provided evidence that Mr. Slater's goodwill interest was valued at $44,000. However, a portion of the accountant’s valuation was based on post-separation earnings. Mr. Slater's evidence was that goodwill did not exist based upon the express terms of the partnership agreement. The trial court ruled that Mr. Slater's goodwill interest had no value. Mrs. Slater appealed the trial court's decision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Taylor, J.)

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