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Oil billionaire's divorce being watched by shareholders

Texas has had its fair share of oil barons over the years, but so have our neighbors in Oklahoma. In that state, oil billionaire, Harold Hamm, is going through a divorce that has had shareholders at the company he founded, Continental Resources, concerned about their own assets.

He and they got some good news recently when the judge in the Hamms' divorce ruled that Mr. Hamm would not lose his 70 percent equity stake in Continental Resources in the divorce. The district court judge determined that the 122 million shares Hamm held before he wed his wife will not be divided with her as marital assets. If these had not been classified as pre-marital assets, this could have been one of the largest divorce settlements in history. Hamm, who grew up in a one-bedroom home with 12 older siblings, is reported to be worth over $14 billion dollars.

Hamm's fortune is no small factor in the couple's divorce proceedings. The two have been apart for nearly 10 years, and have filed for divorce three times during that period. Mrs. Hamm's attorneys are working to get information about just how much the oil billionaire is worth. They have even subpoenaed Forbes Media for information on his assets. Forbes ranked him at 68 on their list of Global Billionaires. So far, Forbes has not turned over any information on Hamm's assets.

Hamm has been reluctant to speak publicly about the details of the divorce but has reassured shareholders that his private trials have had no impact on the company, which increased its oil production by almost 40 percent last year. The value of shares in the company has increased 400 percent in the past five years. With the recent decision that he won't lose his stake in the company, Hamm has said that Continental Resources' shareholders "should take comfort in the fact that there is not going to be a disturbance in the management of the company going forward."

The couple's divorce is set to go to trial in July. Hamm says he hopes the whole thing will be over before 2015.

High-asset divorces can pose unique challenges because of the amount, diversity and sometimes secrecy of assets involved. Attorneys experienced with high-asset divorces work to help their clients protect their financial rights and interests, which will in turn help them in their transition more comfortably to post-divorce life.

Source: Forbes, "Judge: Billionaire Hamm To Retain Control Of Continental Resources In Divorce Settlement" Christopher Helman, Mar. 04, 2014

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