A Business Valuation Divorce Trial May Not Be Reopened When the “New” Evidence Was Known at the Time of Divorce Trial

Husband and wife owned and operated several specialty grocery stores through a holding company. At the divorce trial in 2011, the husband’s expert valued the company as of 2010.  Wife refused to commit to a specific valuation date and wife’s expert presented a higher value based on a comparable sales analysis.  The divorce court selected a valuation between the husband’s expert’s valuation and the wife’s expert’s valuation based on evidence and argument presented at trial.  In 2012, wife’s divorce attorney moved to reopen the divorce because of purportedly “new” evidence.  Wife’s divorce attorney claimed that the divorce court’s valuation failed to include the income the company earned from husband’s expert’s valuation date to the time of trial, a year later.  The divorce court denied the motion and wife’s divorce attorney appealed.

The Court of Appeal affirmed the divorce court because wife’s divorce attorney did not present any “new” evidence.  The Court of Appeal observed that during the divorce the trial, wife’s divorce lawyer had been aware of the facts and that husband’s expert’s valuation date was 2010 and not 2011.  It was clear that the divorce court had not erred by denying her motion.

In re Marriage of Honer (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 687