It was revealed last week that one of world’s top billionaires in the middle of a divorce could see a settlement that could top the list as most expensive of all time.
Oil tycoon Harold Hamm, whose net worth is about $11.3 billion, and his second wife, Sue Ann Hamm filed for divorce in May 2012 to end their 24 years of marriage. Reuters last week reported that it obtained documents regarding the divorce, which revealed Sue Ann Hamm accusing her husband of having an affair.
It is unknown if 67-year-old Harold Hamm, who is also known as being presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s energy advisor, and his 56-year-old wife had a prenuptial agreement, but Reuters reported legal experts saying without one the settlement could exceed the most expensive to date between Rupert and Anna Murdoch at $1.7 billion. Forbes explained that more than $5 billion could be on the line.
This would mean Sue Ann could receive almost half of Harold’s stake in the oil company Continental Resources — he holds 68 percent of the shares — which in turn could mean losing “control over the company he founded in 1967,” according to Forbes.
Here’s more from Reuters regarding Oklahoma law that could prevent such a high settlement from coming to pass:
Under Oklahoma family law, wealth accrued through the efforts of either spouse during a marriage would typically be subject to “equitable distribution” between the parties.
“A court in Oklahoma may look closely at what each party has contributed,” said legal specialist Atwood. “But it sounds to me like both spouses here were working hard in the business.”
“Where there are concerns about company control in a settlement, a spouse would usually get paid the value of the shares,” she said. “This is going to be really interesting.”
Other expensive divorce settlements in the past have included those between Saudi businessman Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi at $874 million; U.S. businessman known for saving a cable TV company Craig McCaw and his wife Wendy at $460 million; Russians Roman and Irina Abramovich at $300 million; and former Chicago Bulls basketball player Michael Jordan from wife Juanita at $168million. (See more expensive divorce settlements of all time here.)
Reuters reported that attorneys for both parties involved in the Hamm’s case will present evidence toward reaching a settlement May 20.
Read more about the Hamm’s divorce — and their history of previous filings for divorce in the last two decades — in Reuters full story here.