KIMBERLY C. V. CHRISTOPHER C. (App Div., 3rd Dep’t)

The plaintiff-wife has an interest in a landscape architecture firm subject to valuation and equitable distribution.  The defendant-husband’s expert determined the wife had a 23% ownership interest in the firm in 2011 and a 36% ownership interest in 2012, 2013 and 2014.  The ownership percentages as determined by the husband’s expert were based upon the firm’s tax returns, specifically on Schedule K-1 under “Profit, Loss and Capital”.

The wife’s expert testified that the entry on these figures onto the firm’s tax returns were erroneous and that ownership interest percentages displayed on the tax return represented the wife’s income as compared to the income of the firm’s other owner’s, not the wife’s ownership percentage.  The firm’s accountant confirmed the opinion of the wife’s expert.   He further testified that he had mistakenly used these figures and that he had no additional information showing the wife had more than the 10% ownership interest stated in the partnership agreement.

The wife’s expert and the firm’s accountant’s testimonies support the Supreme Courts determination that the wife owned a 10% interest in the firm.