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High-asset divorce may or may not be high profile

A high-asset divorce is not necessarily synonymous with a high-profile divorce. After all, many wealthy people get divorced quietly, following the legal process just as other divorcing couples do. This is no different in Lake County than in other parts of Illinois or the country as a whole.

For some people, however, a profile that attracts attention comes with the territory. That appears to be the case with Harold Hamm, an energy company executive whom Time magazine has called one of the world's most influential people. Mr. Hamm is one of the richest people in the country and was also the principal energy adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign last year.

Mr. Hamm is now involved in a high-conflict divorce with his second wife, Sue Ann Hamm, whom he married in 1988. The couple has two adult children. Harold Hamm also has three children from a previous marriage.

The sheer scale of the assets involved has family law commentators wondering whether the case could end up with the largest divorce settlement on record. It could even exceed the $1.7 billion financial settlement in media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's divorce more than a decade ago. The settlement in the oil baron's case may well exceed the media tycoon's.

Of course, the existence of a prenuptial agreement could be a major factor in whether such a settlement occurs. At present, it is not clear whether such an agreement is in place.

One possibility for the resolution of the case is that Harold Hamm's controlling interest in his energy company, Continental, could be divided as marital property. That interest is currently thought to be worth a whopping $11.2 billion.

Source: "Exclusive: Looming divorce could threaten oil baron's empire," Reuters, Brian Grow and Joshua Schneyer, 3-21-13

To learn more about our legal practice, please visit our page on high asset divorce.

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