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This oil baron's divorce could cost him $17 BILLION

Holla “we want prenup”.

Harold Hamm - may be about to become a lot less rich.
Harold Hamm - may be about to become a lot less rich.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

IN THE NEXT few months a US court will rule on what could be the most expensive divorce settlement in history.

The divorce case of oil mogul Harold Hamm and his wife Sue Ann is in its second week in Oklahoma City in the US, with a judge set to rule in the coming months how much of Harold’s $17 billion fortune his wife is due after 30 years of marriage.

The amount that is payable to Sue Ann will boil down to whether her husband got rich through hard work or just dumb luck.

If, as Sue Ann argues, his hard work and wisdom is what grew his Continental Resources into one of America’s largest energy companies, then it becomes a marital asset and she is due up to half.

However, lawyers for Harold argue that his wealth is down to factors outside his control, like Mother Nature or good staff.

As Tony Dokoupil of NBC News reported:

“This happens all the time,” said Raoul Felder, a divorce lawyer who handles high net worth cases in New York City. Most of the country operates under so-called equitable distribution laws, which takes into account active and passive appreciation. The result is a similar sideshow, where one side alleges luck and the other side sings for skill.

Even if Sue Ann is granted “only” $3 billion dollars, she would become one of America’s top 20 richest women, overtaking Oprah.

The markets are already anticipating that Hamm will make a big loss; Continental’s share price dropped by 3% when news of the divorce broke.

The case is expected to be decided within the next few months.

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