Imagine that you were married to a billionaire, and that after many years of marriage, the two of you decide it is time to call it quits. You file for divorce, and the process takes its course. Eventually an agreement is in place — but the billion-dollar agreement doesn’t even come close to seeming fair, given that your spouse is worth nearly $20 billion. So you decide to appeal the decision.
Does this seem ridiculous? Well it is — and it’s also a real story. Harold Hamm, an oil tycoon worth $18 billion, and his wife got a divorce last year. As part of the divorce Harold Hamm agreed to pay his ex-wife Ann Arnall $975 million. He audaciously wrote Arnall a check, which she cashed. But then Arnall realized that what she was receiving was just a drop in the bucket compared to Hamm’s net worth. So she appealed the agreement.
She lost that appeal, and will have to deal with the unfortunate reality of only having $975 million.
Now, we are being sarcastic in this post, and some of our inflection is in jest. In reality though, if you ignore the staggering amount of money involved in this divorce, the issues are very real. Financial matters are inherent to the divorce process, and the splitting spouses are unlikely to agree in the beginning as to how those assets are supposed to be divided between them.
It’s always possible to negotiate or mediate the situation, and the spouses, over time, could reach an acceptable arrangement that allows them to complete their divorce and move on with their lives.
Source: Huffington Post, “Oil Tycoon Harold Hamm’s Ex-Wife Loses Appeal Over $1 Billion Divorce,” Reuters, April 28, 2015