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Divorcing oil magnet may lose billions for lack of prenup

The lack of a prenuptial agreement may wind up costing billions of dollars for oil tycoon Harold Hamm, who is currently embroiled in divorce proceedings with his estranged wife. She has accused him of infidelity, and there has been controversy over whether she should be ordered to disclose secret recordings - both audio and video - that she is said to have had made depicting him in the privacy of their homes.

The fortune amassed by the oil baron over the years is now estimated to have reached $11 billion or more. The couple has been married for a quarter of a century and evidently never entered into a prenuptial agreement when the marriage started. Had they done so then, or even had they entered into some sort of postnuptial agreement concerning the husband's vast business holdings, he might well not be possibly facing the biggest settlement in any divorce proceeding ever.

These sort of agreements can be drawn up by experienced matrimonial lawyers and can be enforced to limit the assets to be divided in case of divorce. They are especially useful when one spouse brings substantial assets into the new marriage.

In the complex divorce litigation, the husband has already had to submit approximately 50,000 pages of documents. He is an executive at oil company Continental Resources where she worked as an attorney. He reportedly owns more in the way of oil still lodged in the ground than any other individual person in the country.

He has holdings in two other companies. The couple separated on May 12 - at least they have finally agreed upon that date. The husband had previously argued that they actually separated back in 2003, and that assets and earnings he acquired after that date should not be considered marital property.

If you are considering a divorce, contact an experienced Texas divorce lawyer to discuss your rights, responsibilities and options concerning property division, child custody and support, and alimony.

Source:  NBCNews.com, "No prenup could cost oil baron billions in divorce" No author given, Jun. 14, 2013

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