Oil Tycoon’s Wife not Happy with Divorce Settlement
Just a few days ago, the divorce settlement of oil tycoon Harold Hamm made news as one of the costliest divorces ever. But Harold's ex-wife, Sue Ann Hamm is not a happy woman. Sue was awarded cash and assets worth more than $1 billion in the couple's divorce. However, her divorce attorneys have said that Sue Ann wants to appeal the judgment on the grounds that the divorce settlement grossly undermines the value of the marital wealth that she is legally entitled to.
Lawyers say division of wealth is not equitable
As part of the settlement, Sue Ann will be paid about $7 million per month. The court judgment that grants her this monthly amount also allows Harold to keep nearly all of his shares in the oil company he helped found – Continental Resources. Harold's share in the company is estimated to be around $18 billion. Sue Ann's divorce lawyers claim that the court ruling has unfairly allowed Harold to keep hold on his Continental Resources shares.
Ronn Barber, one of the divorce attorneys on Sue Ann's team, says that Ms. Hamm plans to appeal the decision and get her part of the shares as well to which she is legally entitled after 26 years of marriage to Harold. The decision of the Oklahoma County court to deny Ms. Hamm her fair quota of Continental's shares is, as Mr. Barber puts it, not an "equitable" division of the couple's wealth.
$7 million a month is not enough
According to the verdict given by Oklahoma County Judge Howard Haralson, Sue Ann will receive a settlement of $995 million along with additional assets which include a California ranch and the couple's Oklahoma home. The value of both the properties is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars. The nearly $1 billion settlement will be paid out to Sue Ann as minimum payments of $7 million each month starting in January next year. A lump sum of $322 million is to be paid by the end of this year.
The divorce settlement between the Hamms will go down in the annals of history as one of the most expensive divorce cases ever, but it is also important to note that the amount of wealth that Judge Haralson had allowed Mr. Hamm to hold on to is far larger than the sum that will be given to Sue Ann. The CEO is known to hold more than 68% of stock in the Continental Resources company, which is valued at $13.5 billion. Before the divorce, the net worth of his stocks was about $18 billion.
CEO keeps shares as 'separate property'
Continental's shares have fallen sharply in recent times, along with falling global oil prices. Judge Haralson noted that the $1.4 billion growth in Continental shares that happened during the period that couple were married was to be shared as "marital capital", but the rest of the shares were awarded to Mr. Hamm as "separate property".
In Oklahoma, a divorce appeal can either be heard by a State Court of Appeals or the Oklahoma Supreme Court. A higher court could either modify the judgment after review or send it back to Judge Haralson for re-trial.