One of the world’s richest people could lose a substantial portion of his multibillion-dollar fortune in what has been predicted to be the most expensive divorce in history. According to CNN, Oklahoma oil tycoon Harold Hamm’s net worth is just over $20.2 billion, but nearly half of that could go to his soon-to-be former spouse, Sue Ann, to whom he was married for 26 years.
It’s not yet clear just how much Sue Ann will receive in the settlement, but the current record is $4.5 billion involved in the divorce of Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev earlier this year.
According to legal experts, Hamm’s case will rest on two key factors, the first of which is the date the court will establish as the time Harold and Sue Ann officially separated. Hamm’s company, Continental Resources, has grown considerably over the past couple of years, and so the earlier the separation date, the less the payout will be. The other factor is how much Sue Ann Hamm contributed to the growth of Continental Resources, both in terms of the business itself and in her support of Harold Hamm as he focused his attention on the company. One strategy Harold Hamm’s attorneys have attempted is to argue that their client was not very instrumental in the company’s growth, thereby reducing the impact that Mrs. Hamm could have had, as well.
Although the Hamms’ divorce undoubtedly involves much higher sums of money than most, their case reflects the challenges many high-income and high-asset couples face when they dissolve their marriages, especially when there is a business involved. It’s difficult to determine how much each spouse contributed to a company, and therefore the stake each should have in it. When you’re going through a divorce in Connecticut, it’s important to work with a skilled lawyer who you can trust to protect your rights and best interests — particularly when it comes to dividing marital assets and property.