Taking Care of Business: Harold Hamm Holds on to Continental Resources

Divorce can affect how a company is owned and operated. Recently, an Oklahoma judge ruled that billionaire Harold Hamm can retain his controlling interest in Continental Resources, a company he founded in 1967.

The marriage of Harold and Sue Ann Hamm and its dissolution reveals some of the classic concerns of high asset couples upon divorce, including the following:

  • Married since 1988, the couple apparently did not execute a prenuptial agreement.
  • Given reports of alleged infidelity, Mr. and Mrs. Hamm have discussed divorce for the last decade. Media reports indicate that Mrs. Hamm possesses surveillance tapes that raise concerns about Mr. Hamm's behavior.
  • The couple later agreed on a no-fault divorce and a separation date in 2012. The couple has two adult children. Mr. Hamm has three children from a previous marriage.

As in Connecticut, the Hamms' home state follows the equitable distribution rule for division of assets and property during divorce proceedings. For the Hamm fortune, this means equitable division of all property not considered to be separate.

In February of this year, investors in the Continental Resources Oil Company were relieved to learn that Mr. Hamm will retain the majority of his shares upon his divorce. Shares in Continental Resources acquired after his second marriage are likely subject to division.

In recent years, Mr. Hamm's net worth - the fortune he's earned from Continental Resources - has skyrocketed. He is currently thought to be worth approximately $11 billion. The divorce settlement between Mr. and Mrs. Hamm could be record-setting, and is expected by year's end. Like any spouses in Connecticut or elsewhere whose divorce involves significant assets, the Hamms have each retained qualified legal counsel for support throughout the process.

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