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Harold Hamm's oil company to remain separate property in divorce

When Harold Hamm was growing up in a one-bedroom home in the Midwest with his twelve brothers and sisters, he had no idea that he would become one of the wealthiest people in the country.

He also didn’t know when he landed his first job as a gas station attendant that he would become one of the most powerful people in the oil industry.

Finally, when Hamm married his wife, Sue Ann, 25 years ago, he didn’t predict that their marriage would end in a divorce with several billion dollars at stake.

Luckily for Hamm, a family law judge in Oklahoma sided with him last month and determined that his 70 percent interest in the oil company he founded, Continental Resources, was “separate” property and not subject to equitable division during his divorce.

The order in the very secretive divorce case was unsealed earlier this week, and means the Hamm will retain his controlling interest in the company.

The judge based the decision on the fact that Hamm held 122 million shares of Continental before the marriage, so that portion of the company was non-marital in nature.

Like Tennessee, Oklahoma is an equitable distribution state which means that all marital property is divided fairly and equitably during divorce.

If the judge would have decided that Hamm’s interest in the Continental was marital property, his wife would have been entitled to up to 50 percent.

Hamm reportedly owns another 4 million shares of the company, which may be entitled to equitable distribution during the divorce, which is still being negotiated.

Of course, it is still possible that Sue Ann could appeal the judge’s decision, and with so much money at stake, that’s more likely than not.

Source: Forbes, “Judge: Billionaire Hamm To Retain Control Of Continental Resources In Divorce Settlement,” Christopher Helman, March 4, 2014

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