The World’s Potentially Most Expensive Divorce
Oil billionaire Harold Hamm’s divorce from Sue Ann Hamm, a lawyer and economist, could be the most expensive divorce in history. The oil tycoon is ranked number 35 on Forbes’ list of wealthiest Americans and is worth about $11.3 billion, with most of his wealth held in shares of his oil giant, Continental Resources. According to Reuters, after 24 years of marriage, Sue Ann Hamm filed for divorce in May 2012, after accusing him of having an affair.
Sue Ann Hamm could be entitled to the largest divorce settlement in history, worth over $5 billion. It is unknown whether or not she signed a prenuptial agreement. If she didn’t, she could receive half of her husband’s 68% stake in Continental Resources, which could cause him to lose control of the oil company, which he founded in 1967.
The divorce is taking place in Oklahoma. According to Oklahoma family law, wealth accrued by either spouse during a marriage is generally subject to “equitable distribution” between each party. Equitable distribution is the process used to determine how to divide property between spouses during a divorce. The court will likely consider the length of the couple’s marriage, their two children, and Sue Ann Hamm’s work as an executive at Continental, during which she played an important role in the corporation.
Other famously expensive divorce settlements include Rupert and Anna Murdoch’s divorce, which cost $1.7 billion, and Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone, which cost $1-1.2 billion.