While divorces happen every day in Mississippi, married couples leave their relationships in a variety of different ways. Many are able to, in a relatively peaceful manner, make decisions about their assets and children without having to go through the stresses of a trial. However, some are unable to do this, and the couple heads to court to settle their divorce. One billionaire former couple, Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall, have recently spent 10 weeks in court that ended with Arnall being awarded approximately $1 billion. Their battle is destined to continue as Arnall intends to appeal the ruling.
Hamm has a controlling interest in Continental Resources, a hugely successful oil company. While Hamm claims that many of the steps that led to the company's success were a result of actions he took prior to his marriage and passive factors such as oil prices during the marriage, Arnall claims that its success was largely due to active factors including her husband's skill at managing the company. Additionally, Arnall, who was an attorney at the company when she and Hamm married, held executive positions in the company and argues that she contributed to its success.
As a result, she claims that the $1 billion awarded to her is unfair, claiming the judge miscalculated the award due to incorrectly attributing a large portion of the company's success to passive factors. Arnall's lawyers valued marital assets at approximately $18 billion. Claiming the judge made multiple errors, Arnall plans to appeal the ruling. Some speculate that the case could continue for two more years as it goes through the appeals process.
Although this judgment ranks as one of the highest in this country's divorce proceedings, many people in Mississippi can likely relate to both Hamm and Arnall. Fortunately, many cases can be resolved in mediation, without a contentious court battle filled with bitterness. However, an attorney with experience with state laws can help a person seeking divorce regardless of whether settlement negotiations or a trial is required.
Source: news.yahoo.com, "Oil magnate's ex-wife slams $1 billion divorce ruling in appeal", Joshua Schneyer, Dec. 5, 2014