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Expensive Divorces Virginia Divorce Law Firm Puts Harold Hamm's Billion Dollar Settlement in Context

DiPietro Law Group, PLLC

Money is a prime motivator in almost all Virginia divorce cases. A qualified attorney can help you obtain a fair settlement and equitable outcome. But how, exactly, should the court define the concept of “fair” when extremely large amounts of money are involved.

For example, as we reported a few months ago, energy magnate Harold Hamm recently separated from his wife, Sue Ann Hamm, and their settlement made international headlines because of the sheer amount of assets involved and at play. Sue Ann received nearly $1 billion dollars, making the split one of the largest cash settlements in the history of divorces. Despite this huge settlement offer, Sue Ann has chosen to appeal on the grounds that the judge’s settlement offer was unfair to her.

Before you accuse her of being greedy and spiteful, take a closer look at the numbers; they tell a slightly different story. At the time of the divorce, Harold Hamm was the 24th richest man in America, with a personal fortune of $18.7 billion in addition to his successful business enterprises. Therefore, Sue Ann’s $1 billion settlement is only 5% of Harold’s net worth.

When judged by percentage of net worth, the Hamm divorce is hardly the most costly one in the history books. In 2015, Stewart Rahr awarded his ex wife a $250 million settlement. This amount constituted 16% of his net worth, still a pittance compared to Craig McCaw’s 1997 settlement; he gave his ex $460 million, 23% of his net worth.

Rupert Murdoch’s second divorce was a costly one. His ex wife received an enormous settlement of $1.7 billion, or 25% of Murdoch’s net worth. Apparently Murdoch is a romantic: undeterred by this large financial loss, he married his next wife only 17 days later.

Most divorces do not lead to enormous sums of money changing hands. These high profile divorces differ from average divorces not just because of the enormous amounts of money involved. Extremely wealthy people tend to hold their assets in complex instruments, which can make analyzing who has what and who owes whom what quite complicated and involving.

If you need assistance with your case, contact our experienced Fairfax divorce attorneys today at (888) 530-4374 to schedule a consultation. We can provide compassionate, strategic help throughout the process and give you back peace of mind and the strength to rebound from your crisis.

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