US family lawyers contemplate huge divorce settlement
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.”
“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
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Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
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