People in Maryland may recall the groundbreaking high asset divorce of oil tycoon Harold Hamm and his wife, Sue Ann Arnell back in 2014. Their divorce made headlines because of Hamm’s extraordinary net worth, as well as the amount of marital property up for grabs in their divorce settlement. Hamm had an estimated net worth of close to $19 billion, a substantial portion of which he accrued during his marriage.
The Oklahoma district court reached a ruling on the asset division between the two in November of 2014, awarding Ms. Arnell approximately $1 billion. Even though it was the largest divorce settlement in U.S. history, Ms. Arnell appealed the ruling just a month later, citing alleged mistakes made by the court which, according to her side, should have led to her obtaining an even greater amount. Mr. Hamm also appealed the ruling arguing just the opposite; that the ruling resulted in her getting an unreasonably high amount of the marital assets.
However, Hamm was apparently open to settling the matter without an appeal, apparently offering his ex a check for roughly $975 million. A copy of the eye-popping check circulated through the news media, but Ms. Arnell declined to accept the check, instead opting to let the Oklahoma court of appeals reach a decision in the matter.
This was an incredibly complex divorce which lasted over two years and involved substantial litigation. Any time there are tremendous assets at stake, especially volatile business assets, even reasonable minds can differ, and in this case the difference could be in the billions. In this case, Hamm’s net worth is tied largely to the price of oil and the performance of his company, so a major fluctuation in his net worth is all but guaranteed. The court of appeals will surely have their work cut out for them in this matter.
Source: Huffington Post “Oil Tycoon Harold Hamm’s Ex-Wife Rejects $975 Million Divorce Check,” Cavan Sieczkowski, Jan. 7, 2015