Followers of Forbes in Florida may be familiar with Harold Hamm, the founder of Continental Resources who has an estimated net worth of about $14.6 billion. Hamm owns approximately 126 million shares and a 70 percent equity stake in the oil production company, which saw a 39 percent increase in production in 2013.
Continental Resources has been going strong, despite Hamm's ongoing divorce proceedings. Last year it was publicly announced that Hamm and his wife were filing for divorce. The trial phase of their divorce is expected to begin in July.
An Oklahoma judge recently granted partial summary judgment in Hamm's favor on the issue of his ownership of 122 million of his Continental shares. Shareholders had previously expressed concern that if a judge found those shares to be marital property, Hamm would lose his controlling interest in the company because Hamm's wife would be entitled to half. A loss of control by Hamm would have altered the strong management dynamic now in place.
Hamm was not surprised when the judge found that the shares that Hamm had acquired before marriage were in fact pre-marital property, but he is presumably relieved to have that factor taken out of the settlement equation for good. Although he says that the divorce has been a distraction to him from his business dealings, he thinks that the company and its team have not slowed down at all in light of the proceedings as evidenced by their success in 2013.
Not surprisingly, Hamm made a statement that he would never marry again. While divorce is never pleasant, high-asset divorces can be extremely challenging and take especially long to resolve. A family law attorney may be able to help business owners or wealthy individuals in Florida who are going through a divorce. A forensic accountant may also be needed in order to assess one's property rights.
Source: Forbes, "Judge: Billionaire Hamm To Retain Control Of Continental Resources In Divorce Settlement", Christopher Helman, March 04, 2014