The recently divorced ex-wife of oil baron Harold Hamm says that her $1 billion divorce award is not enough. A judge in Oklahoma awarded the woman assets and cash valued at over $1 billion following their lengthy divorce case, but she says she will appeal the ruling on the basis that it greatly undervalues the amount of marital assets she has a right to receive.
According to the divorce ruling, Mr. Hamm -- the chief executive of Continental Resources -- will maintain approximately 94 percent of his ownership of approximately $18 billion worth of Continental Resources stock. The wealth was amassed during the 26 years of his marriage to Sue Ann Hamm. Mr. Hamm did not create a prenuptial agreement when he married Mrs. Hamm in 1988.
The $1 Billion Will Be Paid in Installments
The Oklahoma County Court Judge’s ruling last Monday said that Mr. Hamm must pay out approximately $995 million to his ex-wife. The first payment of $322 million will be made to Mrs. Hamm before the end of the year. Another $650 million will be paid out over time in monthly disbursements of $7 million each. Mrs. Hamm will also be entitled to keep a ranch in California and a home in Oklahoma, worth tens of millions of dollars.
The Hamm’s divorce battle hinged on what should be considered marital property and what should be considered separate property. According to the judge who ruled on the matter, $1.4 billion of the Continental share growth that happened during the couple’s marriage was classifiable as marital property. As for the rest, the judge deemed it to be separate property belonging to Mr. Hamm.
Mrs. Hamm Says She Was Involved in the Company's Rise
Attorneys representing Sue Ann Hamm claim that the oil magnate’s ex-wife had considerable involvement in Continental Resources’ meteoric rise. Her attorneys say that at various times Mrs. Hamm -- who is an economist and an attorney -- worked for Continental, and once managed the company’s crude marketing division. She was also a devoted mother, raising the couple’s two children in their home.
Legal experts say that the appeals process in this high asset divorce could take as little as 18 months or as long as several years to complete. If a higher court agrees to review the lower court’s judgment, it might modify the award, affirm the lower judge’s ruling, or return the case to the same judge for a retrial.
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