Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Billion Dollar Divorce

It is not often that we get to see inside the details of a high net worth divorce, let alone a divorce that results in one spouse paying the other $1 Billion. This week, the New York Times (and other papers) got a hold of the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law from the Oklahoma County District Court in the case of Sue Ann Hamm and Harold Hamm.

The document is astounding in the amount of detail required to recount the assets of the parties and the evidence submitted in what was an enormous trial conducted outside of the usual scrutiny of a high profile divorce.

The focus of the findings is on the standards in Oklahoma relative to marital and separate property.  In Oklahoma, property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be marital, including when separate property is placed into the joint ownership of the properties or is commingled with marital property.  Even the increase in value of separate property during a marriage may be considered marital depending upon the cause of the increase in value.

Although not a state where I am licensed, Oklahoma’s laws and decisions seem to be consistent with the states where I practice. It is a long read, but for those who like to  study these kinds of decisions, the Court has given us plenty to ponder.

A full copy of the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law can be found here.

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