One of the most hotly contested issues in any divorce case is the division of assets. Understandably, both parties want to walk away with a significant portion of the marital assets, and there is often much debate over how much each spouse deserves based on their contribution to the marriage. In one of the largest divorce judgments ever to be issued in the United States, an oil tycoon has been ordered to pay a whopping $995.5 million to his ex-wife.
Of course this astronomical number is unfathomable to most people, and very few Texas residents, if any, will ever face such an incredible payout in their divorce. Still, there are lessons from this divorce case that everybody can learn from, such as how marital assets are divided by courts and the importance of a prenuptial agreement. While it may seem like an incredible sum of money, the oil tycoon owns shares in Continental Resources that are worth almost $14 billion.
Considering that the couple were married for more than 26 years, this seems like a fairly small sum, far from 50 percent of the estimated wealth. However, the equitable distribution laws in Oklahoma determined that the oil tycoon and CEO of the company did not play a large enough factor in the increase of Continental’s value to merit that much money being on the line. Had the divorce taken place in a different state, the outcome might have been vastly different, which is why it is important to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the laws of your state.
Another notable fact of this divorce is that the trial lasted more than nine weeks as both parties contested the settlement amount. The couple did not have a prenuptial agreement, which might have made the trial easier and shorter. If you are considering divorce, it may be in your best interests to meet with an attorney who is familiar with divorce laws in your state, especially if you do not have a prenuptial agreement. Effective legal counseling can play a large part in reaching a divorce settlement that is fair to both you and your spouse.
Source: Huffington Post, “Harold Hamm, Oil Tycoon, Ordered To Pay Nearly $1 Billion In Record Divorce Settlement,” Joshua Schneyer, Nov. 10, 2014