Back in November, our blog continued exploring the very curious divorce case playing out in an Oklahoma courtroom between 68-year-old oil tycoon Harold Hamm and his 58-year-old wife of 26 years, Sue Ann Hamm.
We reported how the judge presiding over the nine-week divorce trial handed down one of the largest divorce judgments in U.S. history — $975 million — and how Sue Ann nevertheless planned to appeal this award, arguing that it was inequitable and failed to properly interpret Oklahoma’s property division laws.
For those unfamiliar with Harold Hamm, he is the founder and CEO of the oil extraction company Continental Resources, which has a major presence just over the border in North Dakota’s Bakken oilfields. The majority of his fortune is believed to consist of his 68 percent ownership of Continental.
In a rather surprising turn of events, Sue Ann Hamm actually cashed the $975 million judgment check from her ex-husband earlier this month, but announced that she is still planning to pursue her appeal.
Indeed, her attorney indicated that the check from her husband was issued “without intent to compromise or settle,” and that her appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court had not been withdrawn.
Harold Hamm’s attorneys, in turn, have since filed a motion to dismiss, contending that state law clearly indicates that an acceptance of benefits in a divorce case effectively serves to quash these types of appeals.
Legal experts have already weighed in on the matter, with many believing that Sue Ann Hamm’s chances of prevailing appearing are indeed rather slim given her cashing of the $975 million check.
It is worth noting that the recent drop in oil prices has dealt something of a blow to Continental Resources and, by extension, Harold Hamm. Indeed, one wealth tracking company has estimated that his net worth of roughly $18.5 billion has been cut in half over the last six months.
As always, we will continue to monitor this truly fascinating case. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns about prenuptial agreements or the division of assets, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional here in Minnesota.
Sources: CNN Money, “The ex-wife who cashed a $1 billion check still wants more,” Jillian Eugenios, Jan. 13, 2015; CNN Money, “Oil tycoon lost $9.2 billion in six months,” Jillian Eugenios, Jan. 19, 2015