If you are headed for divorce, your financial well-being will be of utmost importance as you enter a new chapter in your life. You want to be sure that all your shared assets are front and center with nothing hidden away.
Wealthy individuals in Washington who are going through a divorce may be interested to hear about a recent outcome in the divorce case of Harold Hamm, the billionaire founder of Continental Resources, Inc. Hamm's wife had been vying for his controlling stake in the company as part of their divorce settlement. In Feb. 2014, a judge ruled that more than 122 million shares of Continental that Hamm had owned before getting married would be considered his separate property, not assets of the marriage.
A recent appellate court decision may impart valuable advice to Washington residents wanting to prevent protracted dispute over complex asset division during divorce. The litigants were a couple who executed a prenuptial agreement to exempt all gifts, inheritances and personal business profits from equitable property division in the event of marital dissolution. During their marriage, the woman quit her career to stay home with the couple's four children, and the man built a telecom business that became successful within a year of their high asset divorce. When he later defaulted on court-ordered spousal and child support payments of more than $4,500, the ex-wife went back to court. Her ex-husband pleaded lack of income caused by no longer having an ownership interest in the company and subsistence solely on gifts from his former business partner and in-laws.
Divorcing couples in Washington and across the nation often feel overwhelmed by the prospect of having their most prized possessions divided in a high asset divorce. Although most individuals going through a divorce know that assets like real estate and jointly owned stocks will be divided in divorce court, they often forget about more unconventional assets such as rare collections or cemetery plots.