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Oil tycoon's wife could end up with largest divorce settlement in history

As we've mentioned in previous posts, couples with vast fortunes in Connecticut and beyond can face additional challenges as they are going through the divorce process. One couple's divorce has recently made headlines because of the amount of money at the center of it all.

Harold Hamm is one of the richest Americans. He is worth more than $11 billion. He made his fortune through his success in the oil industry. Hamm founded Continental Resources in 1967. The company has been particularly successful in recent years after the discovery of the Bakken field in North Dakota. More than 700,000 barrels of oil are produced there every day.

Hamm's second wife, who helped grow the company, filed for divorce almost a year ago. Documents reveal that Hamm cheated on his wife two years prior. It is not known whether a prenuptial agreement exists. If not, Hamm's wife could end up with the largest divorce settlement in history.

This divorce is particularly interesting because Hamm has a 68 percent stake in Continental Resources. If the couple's assets are split in half, Hamm's wife could end up with half of his shares, effectively causing him to lose control of the company he founded nearly 50 years ago.

This case is unique because of the enormity of the couple's fortune. Although most couples in Connecticut won't be faced with dividing $11 billion, this case highlights the difficulties associated with a high-asset divorce. Because there is so much at stake, people in Connecticut and beyond with high-value assets often find it best to rely on an experienced attorney as they work through a divorce.

Source: Reuters, "Exclusive: Looming divorce could threaten oil baron's empire," Brian Grow and Joshua Schneyer, March 21, 2013

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