US family lawyers contemplate huge divorce settlement

The wife of one of the wealthiest businessmen in the United States is facing a substantial divorce settlement, Reuters reports.

Sue Ann Hamm is the second wife of Harold G Hamm, the 67 year-old founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Continental Resources, a major oil firm based in Oklahoma City. With an estimated net worth of $11.3 billion, he is reportedly the 35th richest person in the US and 76th richest person in the world.

Fifty-six year-old Sue-Ann, a former executive at Continental, filed for divorce in May last year, and has alleged an affair according to court documents recently seen by Reuters.

Details of the proceedings have not been released and it is not currently known whether the couple signed a prenuptial agreement. Without one, notes Reuters, the settlement could break records and exceed the $1.7 billion settlement reached by Rupert Murdoch with ex-wife Anna in 1999.

Barbara Atwood, Professor Emeritus of Family Law at the University of Arizona, said:

“I don’t know of anything that’s ever been this big. There’s just so much money involved.”

She added:

“A court in Oklahoma may look closely at what each party has contributed. But it sounds to me like both spouses here were working hard in the business.”

Hamm claims he and his wife effectively separated in 2005 but she has disputed this.

A family lawyer who was involved in the Murdoch divorce told Reuters:

“[Sue Ann Hamm] has a leg up because she worked for the company and she can claim that a portion of her efforts went into making the company what it is today. She was married to him when the value of the company went up. She has got to be looking for a couple of billion dollars.”

The couple were married in 1988 and have two now adult children. The oil tycoon has also has three children from his first marriage, which ended in 1987.

Hamm was a prominent supporter of failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Photo by David Shankbone via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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1 comment

Lukey - March 25, 2013 at 1:24am

Other than the lawyers who can make a financial killing out of this I don’t know why anybody else is interested – they’ll both end up with over a billion dollars (i.e. ludicrously wealthy) – so it’s of zero interest to the public when you get to those numbers.

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