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The new most expensive divorce in history

Illinois residents might be interested to learn about the divorce proceedings of Texas oil tycoon Harold Hamm and his ex-wife Sue Ann Hamm. Although the judge presiding over the eight-week trial has decided to keep court records private, there is a lot of speculation about how the 68-year-old's $20.2 billion fortune will be divided. Many people are predicting that the former Mrs. Hamm will stand to receive the highest divorce settlement in history.

In May of this year, a Russian oligarch was involved in what was then referred to as 'the most expensive divorce in history" when he was ordered to pay his ex-wife $4.5 billion. If Hamm's 58-year-old ex-wife is paid at least one quarter of his fortune, the Hamm divorce will easily become the new most expensive divorce of all time.

Hamm and his ex-wife were reportedly married for 26 years and had no prenuptial agreement. Hamm, the founder and chairman of Continental Resources, obtained a vast majority of his wealth during the course of his marriage. The wealth will only be considered marital assets, however, if the judge finds that Hamm directly contributed to his company's growth. While deciding how to split the wealth, the judge will also need to determine what date to use for the separation of assets.

A high-asset divorce like the one in this case is more likely to be contested because of the amount of money at stake. Even if a divorce is not the most expensive in history, however, there are other possible reasons why two ex-spouses cannot reach an amicable agreement. A family law attorney might be able to help someone involved in a contested divorce to assert their rights and protect their assets.

Source: CNN Money, "Oil tycoon could face record divorce judgment", Steve Hargreaves, August 12, 2014

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