Court orders tycoon to pay ex-wife only 6% of fortune
JUST how much of Harold Hamm’s fortune was amassed through his skill and hard work?
That was a key question that Oklahoma divorce judge Howard Haralson had to weigh in his decision last week, when he ordered Hamm, the chief executive of Continental Resources – and Oklahoma’s richest person – to hand over more than $1 billion (R11bn) in cash and assets to his former wife in one of the largest US divorce judgments.
Haralson awarded Sue Ann Hamm just 6 percent of the $18bn fortune her lawyers say the couple had amassed at the start of the divorce trial in August.
Harold Hamm called the judgment “fair and equitable”, but his former wife called it unfair and plans to appeal.
Several divorce lawyers said they were surprised by how small the award was.
“I would have expected that a larger percentage of the wealth be attributed to marital skill and labour,” said Carolyn Thompson, an Oklahoma family law expert.
“Instead, the judge is ruling that the vast majority of the increase was attributable to market factors outside of Harold Hamm’s control,” said Thompson.
Under Oklahoma law, the growing value of assets – including premarital property – is typically split up if it resulted from the efforts or skills of either spouse during the marriage.
The Hamm marriage lasted 26 years, and the couple had no prenuptial agreement. – Reuters