Texas readers may be interested to learn about the recent news that a final ruling is imminent in the high net worth divorce of Harold and Sue Ann Hamm. The soon-to-be divorced couple resides in an adjacent state, and Mr. Hamm is said to be number 29 on the list of richest Americans. The source of the bulk of his business assets — estimated to be about $14 billion — is apparently his 68 percent share in Continental Resources. The couple’s marriage lasted for 26 years, and it is reported that they never signed a prenuptial agreement before their wedding — a fact that is a contributing factor in this complex divorce.
Sue Ann Hamm is demanding 50 percent of the marital property that was obtained during their marriage. The value of the marital property is said to be $17.6 billion. In the event of the court ruling in favor of Mrs. Hamm, Harold Hamm may have to sell Continental Resources to settle the ruling. Mr. Hamm may attempt to demonstrate that market conditions were responsible for the company’s success, rather than the effective management of the company. Successful presentation of this viewpoint may prevent a 50/50 ruling by the court.
It is not uncommon for high asset divorce cases to be complex, and they typically require a team of legal and financial experts to protect the interests and assets of each party. Each spouse has unique needs and will need responsive legal representation. Although mediation and negotiations may resolve some issues, it is not uncommon for complex divorce cases to need litigation to obtain outcomes that will satisfy the wishes and needs of both spouses.
Oklahoma — the state where the Hamm divorce proceedings are pending — is an equitable distribution state. Texas is a community property state, however, and couples who failed to sign prenuptial or postnuptial agreements may find it near impossible to navigate the legalities of a high asset divorce without expert representation. Such a professional will be experienced in investigating hidden assets and protecting the individual’s rights during every phase of the process. The object of legal counsel in a complex divorce will be to assess the individual’s unique circumstances, goals and needs, and then advocate sound recommendations to ensure the best possible outcome.
Source: businessinsider.com, “A Ruling Is Expected In The $18 Billion Divorce Of A Shale Fracking Magnate Within Days“, Stefano Pozzebon, Oct. 14, 2014