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Divorced billionaire oil couple back in court over business deal

Just over a year ago, we told you about the divorce of billionaire oil magnate Harold Hamm from his wife Sue Ann. Many North Dakota residents know Hamm because of his investments in the Bakken oil field in our state.

As with many high-asset divorces, the legal wrangling is continuing long past the signing of the divorce decree, which took place last November. Hamm was ordered to pay his wife almost $1 billion. While this might seem like a hefty settlement to most people, Sue Ann, who now goes by her maiden name of Arnall, appealed the settlement. She argued that she deserved more of her husband's $18 billion fortune for her contributions to her husband's wealth during their quarter century of marriage. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled against her.

Now Arnall is suing her ex-husband regarding a business deal made 10 years ago. According to the suit, Hamm sold Mineral Acquisition LLC to Continental Resources Inc. for $4.5 million, which was less than market value. The net proceeds of the sale amounted to $3.7 million. That was figured into the couple's marital assets during the divorce.

Mineral Acquisition is the parent company of Jolette Oil LLC. This was the company through which Hamm leased parts of the Bakken oil field. The couple jointly owned Jolette Oil. However, Arnall says that the sale was made without her knowledge and that she didn't find out about it until 2013.

The amount of money she is seeking was not reported beyond the fact that it's more than $10,000. However, according to the suit, "These leaseholds and well transferred to CRI...appreciated greatly in value and by the end of 2012 represented crude oil reserves having a present value of over $900 million."

As we noted at the top, when couples with a significant amount of assets and property divorce, litigation can continue for years. It's essential that all assets are fully disclosed during the divorce, and the use of financial advisors is often necessary to get a complete and accurate picture of the assets on the line, additional information can always come to light later. When this happens, additional legal action may be warranted for a spouse to seek the assets to which they are entitled.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, "Former wife of Oklahoma billionaire energy tycoon Hamm sues over sale of co-owned company," Aug. 23, 2015

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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