Biggest divorce settlement

The epic divorce battle with one of the biggest awards in the history of the US looks like it has come to an end.  The divorce battle between Sue Ann Arnall, and Oklahoma oil magnate Harold Hamm, has probably reached a conclusion with Sue depositing a handwritten $975 million divorce check, according to Hamm’s divorce attorney.

The case between Oklahoma’s most successful oil magnate Harold Hamm and his former wife of 26 years was filed in 2012 with the concerned parties spending millions of dollars in legal fees. Arnall was an attorney and an executive at Continental, owned by Hamm. The case has not affected business, according to Hamm’s firm, which is a leading oil drilling company in North Dakota. Why would a divorce affect his men finding the oil that America needs to get off Saudi’s oil?

Arnall had appealed against the divorce settlement, stating that the trial judge had erroneously allowed Hamm to retain more than 90 percent of the total wealth accumulated by the couple during their marriage. The value of Continental had increased 400 times during their marriage due to rise in oil prices. Arnall has been claiming a share of these gains, stating that the growth was due to Hamm’s managerial skills.

But what did Arnall have to do with rising oil prices? On top of this, if she wants so much money then perhaps she should remain married to Hamm.

Growth of firm due to passive factors?

In a bid to limit what he should owe, Hamm contended that Continental grew due to the rise in oil prices and passive factors not under his direct control. He claimed that the growth was not the result of his own efforts.  According to divorce attorneys, under Oklahoma law, only an increase in wealth that is the direct result of active efforts and skills of either spouse is split in a divorce.

Why did he not write "divorce" on the check? Why leave that line blank?

Why did he not write “divorce” on the check? Why leave that line blank?

Last year, shares of Continental were worth as much as $19 billion. Hamm had filed an appeal seeking to reduce the divorce settlement, stating that the plunge in oil prices had reduced the value of his shares. More than $20 million had already been paid by Hamm to Arnall during the course of the battle.

Hamm receives confirmation of the deposit

The handwritten check was deposited earlier by Arnall while Hamm’s divorce attorney, Craig Box said they had received confirmation that the check was deposited in an Oklahoma City Bank. He is of the opinion that this ought to be the end of the divorce battle.

Arnall had termed the judge’s decision as unfair and had declined the payment earlier with the intention to continue her fight. Hamm’s firm is now believed to be worth about $9 billion. In the November ruling by the Oklahoma County Court judge, 68% of the firm’s stakes was awarded to Hamm and $1billion to his ex wife.

Family law expert, Carolyn Thomson said that if Arnall is cashing the check, it would be reasonable to believe that the concerned parties would accept the court’s decision, and would end the case. The deposit was also confirmed by a person familiar with Arnall’s case. Arnall was unavailable for comment. Whether she intends to pursue the case after the check clears was still not clear. In this day and age of greed and sin, nothing is really a surprise anymore.