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When is a $1 Billion divorce settlement not enough?

by Dinnebier & Demmerle on December 3, 2014

When is a $1 Billion divorce settlement not enough?Recently Harold Hamm, an oil company executive considered the wealthiest man in Oklahoma, was ordered by an Oklahoma judge to pay his ex-spouse, Sue Ann Hamm, nearly one billion dollars in cash and assets. This divorce settlement ranks among the largest in U.S. history. However, this amount reportedly adds up to only six percent of an $18 billion dollar fortune.

The couple, married for 20 years, apparently had no prenuptial agreement. After a trial lasting almost 10 weeks, the judge ruled that Mr. Hamm owes an initial payment of $337 million due by the end of the year, and installment payments of at least seven million dollars per month thereafter. The judge has also placed a lien on 20 million shares stock of Hamm’s company, Continental Resources.

Reportedly, Sue Ann Hamm will challenge the amount of the divorce settlement, claiming she is entitled to more. The divisive issue seems to be how much of the Hamm marital assets resulted from the efforts or skills of either spouse during the marriage.

California law clearly defines such things as marital assets, community property, personal property and the like. But the Hamm story demonstrates the inevitable complexity of the task of divorce and dividing assets at high levels of wealth. The content of this blog is intended not as legal advice, but only for information and/or discussion purposes. Should you have questions or concerns about how California family law may apply to you, you may wish to consult a knowledgeable family law attorney. 

As Orange County’s premier family law specialists, the attorneys at Dinnebier & Demmerle can provide answers to your questions and concerns, clarify and establish your legal rights, and represent you in court. If you would like more information about divorce judgments, division of marital assets, or any other aspect of California family law, please call to set up a consultation. We’re ready to move forward when you are. Just contact us in Tustin at 714-838-1099.

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