A US oil tycoon’s $17 billion fortune could be at stake during his divorce.
It has been revealed in a report that the fortune of the oil tycoon, Harold Hamm, could be worth as much as $17 billion. However, Hamm could be in for a shock if his estranged wife is given a significant division of the fortune as their divorce goes on. So far the hearing has been held mostly in secret in order to protect the shareholders of Hamm’s Continental Resources from the release of confidential information.
The report was written by Kenneth Button, an expert witness who was hired by Hamm’s wife, Sue Ann, in order to investigate Hamm’s total worth of assets. This isn’t the first time Sue Ann has taken an active role in the case; in 2007 she installed electronic surveillance in her home so that she could prove to the court that she and Hamm had separated before 2012.
Sue Ann’s lawyers will argue that Hamm’s active efforts in the company contributed to Continental’s increase in value because according to Oklahoma law, if there has been an increase in the couple’s net worth due to the active efforts of either spouse then this will be included in the overall marital estate.
However, Hamm’s legal team will contend that Continental’s growth came as a result of factors which were beyond Hamm’s control such as higher oil prices and new technology. It remains to be seen whether the court will accept the report’s findings and in the event it does, Hamm’s fortune would significantly decrease and if he did sell his share in Continental to help finance the settlement, and he would end up losing control of the company.
The couple married in 1988 and have two daughters and four family homes including two adjoining mansions in Oklahoma. The couple formally split when Hamm’s wife, Sue Ann, filed for divorce in May 2012.
Guest post by Maria Javed. Maria is an intern at Grayfords and has recently graduated from BPP Law School having completed the Legal Practice Course. She is particularly interested in Family Law and Islamic issues.