Many in Florida have followed the divorce case between billionaire Harold Hamm and his wife of 26 years, Sue Ann Hamm. Filed in 2012, the divorce was recently made final. However, the story may not be over, as Sue Ann Hamm is planning to appeal the court’s decision, which awarded her nearly $1 billion is cash and various other assets.
The former Mrs. Hamm, through one of her attorneys, is claiming that the outcome of the divorce does not equate a fair division of marital assets. The primary base of that claim involves how the court determined which portion of the value of Mr. Hamm’s company, Continental Resources, should be considered marital property.
Harold Hamm already owned Continental when the couple married. However, the company experienced a huge gain in value since that point. According to Sue Ann Hamm’s legal argument, a large portion of that value came from work that she and her former husband put into the company. Harold Hamm’s argument, which was ultimately the one favored by the court, was that the majority of value came from forces outside of anyone’s control, such as market shifts and appreciation of assets.
Many in Florida who read coverage of the Hamm divorce feel strongly that a $1 billion settlement is nothing to complain about. However, this takes a narrow view of the matter, and ignores the proportions of the Hamm fortune. The recent outcome left Sue Ann Hamm with less than 6 percent of the couple’s net worth. This is a resolution that few spouses would be content to live with, no matter what their means.
Source: The Washington Post, “When a $1 billion divorce award isn’t enough“, Michelle Singletary, Nov. 20, 2014