When a married couple chooses to divorce, that family may come from a more humble socio-economic class, or that couple may be much more affluent. For those of the upper class in New Jersey as well as in the rest of the country, it could indicate that a significant amount of money may be contested. Harold Hamm and his wife are undergoing divorce proceedings, and a $17 billion asset is currently being contested.
Hamm is a billionaire who made his fortune in the oil business. He is the only person who is not royalty or a government dictator to control such a significant amount of oil. He and his wife have been married for 25 years, but they decided to get a divorce, though the exact reason is unknown. Their divorce trial has been ongoing for a couple of weeks now.
The case will come down to the decision of whether Hamm’s oil business assets are deemed “active” or “passive.” If his $17 billion in assets from his oil company are considered “active,” meaning that he worked very hard to increase the value of that asset during the marriage, then it would be viewed as an asset that is subject to be divided equitably between the parties. However, if his business assets are considered “passive,” meaning that he came across his wealth by good fortune outside of his control, then the value of those assets for equitable distribution purposes would be significantly less.
The $17 billion in assets is indeed a lot of money, and it could essentially be divided in the divorce. However, regardless of whether billions of dollars or hundreds of dollars are being contested in the proceedings, the utmost caution should be exercised to ensure that all relevant issues are settled fairly and comprehensively. In New Jersey, professional assistance is available to provide guidance and seek an optimal result.
Source: NBC News, “Priciest Divorce Ever? How Oilman Harold Hamm Could Lose $17 Billion“, Tony Dokoupil, Aug. 24, 2014