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Future of company questioned in divorce

Even when couples do not own a home together or possess large amounts of assets in Illinois, the process of dividing property at the end of a marriage can be challenging. Often times, it can be difficult to determine which pieces of property were accumulated prior to the marriage, and whether or not anything was given or received as a gift. In one high-profile divorce case, questions were raised over whether or not the husband and stakeholder in his oil corporation may lose a large number of his company shares to property division.

According to Forbes, Harold Hamm is worth a little less than $15 billion and maintains a majority stake in the oil corporation he founded. Hamm and his estranged wife are currently in the midst of divorce proceedings, and details about the case are generally limited. In fact, litigation may not begin until this summer. And while the case may not be finalized until later this year, one major factor was settled in court recently.

An Oklahoma judge ruled that 122 million shares of the oil company will not be divided in the divorce process because they are considered premarital property. Hamm apparently purchased the shares prior to his marriage, and they contribute to his majority stake in the organization.

The future of the oil company was in question prior to the court ruling, despite the fact that production and value in the company has reportedly grown considerably in recent years. Now, Hamm will maintain ownership of more than 126 million shares of the company. It is not stated how many, if any shares were actually subject to division.

Source: Forbes, “Judge: Billionaire Hamm To Retain Control Of Continental Resources In Divorce Settlement,” Christopher Helman, March 4, 2014

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