Prenuptial AgreementsOklahoma City, OK-In May, Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev, settled his divorce for $4.5 billion. This was hailed as the largest divorce settlement in history, but the divorce of Oklahoma oil tycoon Harold Hamm could far surpass that judgment.

Harold Hamm, 68, established Continental Resources in 1967, and has since helped his business grow to a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Much of Continental’s success is due to drilling in the Bakken Shale located in North Dakota. Now, Hamm is worth an estimated $20.2 billion, according to WealthX much of which was accumulated during his 26 year marriage to Linda Hamm.

Oklahoma, like many states, require equitable division of a couple’s assets, which means assets accumulate through the course of a marriage are typically divided in half.

Some reports have said Mrs. Hamm could be awarded between $4 and $8 billion dollars. How much Mrs. Hamm receives hinges on a couple of factors.

M. Shane Henry, chair of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s family law section, explained to CNN Money,  the separation date the court chooses to divide the couple’s assets is pivotal in determining how much Mrs. Hamm will receive. Henry pointed out that Continental has earned a great deal over the past few years and if the court chooses an earlier date, Mr. Hamm would be able to keep a large portion of his wealth.

Another factor that will affect the final divorce settlement is Mrs. Hamm’s contribution to Continental’s growth. She served as an executive for the company and was Mr. Hamm’s partner. According to CNN Money, Mr. Hamm owned a majority of Continental shares before he married his now estranged divorce.

When the couple married in 1988, they didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement, according to Reuters. Even if they had it would be possible to challenge so it might not have made much of an impact on the final divorce settlement.

Earlier this month, an Oklahoma judge closed the divorce proceedings to the public and media, citing concerns that disclosure of confidential information could affect Continental’s business. Some information about the divorce will be made public, but none that reveals proprietary business information, the Daily Oklahoman reported.

The Hamm divorce trial is slated to last for eight weeks.

Most couples settle their divorce out of court through negotiations, but in the case of the Hamm divorce billions are at stake so now it is in the hands of the court to decide the final settlement.

It’s no secret that divorce can be ugly affairs often dominated by feelings of anger and resentment. Battles over debts and property can tie up divorce proceedings for months or years. Since asset division can be a major point of contention, couples turn to divorce attorneys to help them obtain a fair divorce settlement.

When a person decides they can no longer make their marriage work, it may be time to consult with a divorce attorney. They will work diligently to assure their clients are treated fairly throughout the entire divorce process and will fight diligently to assure their clients get the settlement they deserve.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/12/news/harold-hamm-divorce/