While prenuptial agreements are becoming increasingly common among Illinois couples at all income levels, they are typically used in marriages involving substantial amounts of assets. The divorce settlement recently reached in one high-profile case reflects the fact that a prenuptial agreement was never signed by the two parties involved.
The ex-wife of the CEO of Continental Resources was recently awarded close to $1 billion as part of the couple’s highly anticipated divorce settlement. In order to secure the awarded amount, the judge presiding over the case ordered a lien on 20 million shares of the CEO’s stock in his company. The ex-husband is reportedly required to pay his ex-wife a little more than 30 percent of the entire judgment by the end of this year and make monthly installments from then on.
The CEO’s net worth increased substantially since he and his wife of 26 years wed, as a result of the success that Continental Resources experienced. Since no prenuptial agreement was established prior to the couple’s marriage, questions over whether or not the ex-husband’s fortune would be considered marital property quickly mounted. Ultimately, the presiding judge ruled that the growth of the company was largely due to the ex-husband’s expertise and guidance, making his wealth subject to property division. The decision refuted the claims of the CEO’s legal team, who argued that the man’s success was largely luck.
Divorce cases involving large amounts of marital assets and/or prenuptial agreements can be particularly complicated. Obtaining legal counsel can be helpful in navigating such issues.
Source: Financial Post, “Oklahoma oilman’s billion-dollar divorce one of the largest ever,” Nov. 10, 2014