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What the Hamm divorce can teach us about high asset divorce (2 of 2)

Welcome back. In our last post, we began discussing one of the biggest divorces of the decade, that of oil magnate Harold Hamm and his wife of more than 25 years, Sue Ann Arnall (formerly Hamm).

The case made headlines once again last week when Arnall rejected a check from Hamm for nearly $1 billion. A copy of the ridiculously valuable check, written out for precisely $974,790,317.77, has gone viral and left many people scratching their heads as to why it wasn’t enough. 

After the judge presiding over the divorce determined that Arnall was entitled to a $995.5 million settlement, Arnall vowed to file an appeal, claiming that she was entitled to a larger chunk of Hamm’s fortune under the law.

In the meantime, Hamm, too, has filed an appeal in the case, arguing that since his net worth has significantly decline since the divorce trial the $1 billion settlement was actually too large.

This high-profile case makes several important points about high net worth divorce including:

The importance of a prenuptial agreement. In many states, including Texas, income that is derived from separate property can be considered community or martial property, so even if you started a business prior to the marriage a prenuptial agreement is a must.

Timing can be everything. When assets are tied to a fluctuating market, the exact moment an asset is valued can make all of the difference. It’s important to discuss how timing could affect the valuation of the assets involved in your case.  

You can’t put a price tag on privacy. Many high profile couples choose to end their marriages using mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods because it keeps the details of the case confidential. If privacy is important to you, you may want to consider mediation.

As you can see, we have already learned a lot from the Hamm divorce case, and since the case doesn’t appear to be over yet, there is likely still more to come. 

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