Is a Nearly $1 Billion Alimony Award Too Small?
Can you imagine appealing an almost $1 billion alimony award as being too small? That is exactly what Oklahoma oil billionaire Harold Hamm’s ex-wife is doing! Hamm is arguing that due to his shrinking wealth that corresponds to the decrease in the price of oil, the alimony award is too high.
The 69-year old is known for his efforts in America’s recent oil boom, especially in the area of fracking. He founded Continental Resources, one of the largest oil producers in North Dakota’s Bakken formation. In August of 2014, Hamm was worth $19 billion.
Hamm’s divorce trial ended in November of 2014. Since then, oil has reached a five-year low and Hamm’s company, Continental Resources, dropped 30 percent. Hamm is claiming that is net worth has been reduced by a third to $10.6 billion, which means his ex-wife will receive a greater share of the wealth than what the divorce judge intended. Hamm’s fortune is primarily linked to his 68 percent share of Continental Resources stock.
Hamm’s ex-wife, Sue Ann Arnall, is a former executive for Continental Resources. She was married to Hamm for 26 years and if she gets her way in divorce court, she will be billionaire herself. Not only is Arnall seeking a settlement of $995.5 million, she is also seeking ownership of numerous pieces of real estate and valuable assets that are worth millions more, as well as requesting the court to order Hamm to make a $300 million lump sum payment while she continues the battle for more money. In support of her appeal, Arnall argues that the divorce judge failed to explain how he calculated her contributions to the marital estate.
The lower court judge’s ruling gave Arnall a cash award rather than property and assets and her share was primarily based on Continental’s stock price. Hamm was allowed to keep all of the couple’s Continental shares of stock, since the judge found that he founded the company prior to the couple getting married.
The battle is getting heated and the attorneys are submitting their written arguments for the appellate court’s consideration.
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