Harold Hamm faces complex property division in divorce

Many people in Massachusetts may know that one of the richest men in the country is an oil magnate named Harold Hamm. At present, he owns the most oil still in American land and currently owns 68 percent of Continental Resources. Now that his second wife has filed for divorce and the couple had no prenup, Hamm is facing a complex property division that could potentially cost him the controlling interest in Continental.

When the couple married nearly 25 years ago, neither of them may have seen a reason for a prenuptial agreement. However, in 2007, the value of Continental increased approximately five times. As a result, Hamm is currently worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $11 billion.

The couple has now made two decisions that will help them in their endeavor to come to a settlement. The first is to decide on a date of separation for the valuation purposes. That date will be sometime around the day the divorce was filed, which was May 18, 2012. The second thing the couple decided was to have a “no-fault” divorce. Originally, Hamm’s wife, who was an attorney with the company, was going to sue Hamm for divorce on grounds of infidelity.

In order to make this complex property division a little easier, the couple is using an independent appraiser to perform a business valuation. Once that valuation is complete, the negotiations will begin with regard to how much money Hamm will end up paying his estranged wife. Any couples in Massachusetts that own a business and are getting divorced may find it helpful to follow the Hamms’ example in order to determine the value of the business.

Source: nbcnews.com, “No prenup could cost oil baron billions in divorce,” June 14, 2013

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