Individuals in Michigan may be interested to learn that a court has ruled that Sue Ann Arnell, the wife of oil tycoon Harold Hamm, cannot appeal the decision in her divorce case because she already accepted the smaller settlement that her ex-husband had been order to pay her. On April 28, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Hamm because Arnell had already cashed a check from Hamm for $975 million and had taken possession of the marital property that a lower court had awarded her.
Hamm is the CEO of Continental Resources, Inc., and the worth of his estate is estimated to be as much as $18 billion. Arnell had sought a much higher settlement. The marriage had lasted for 26 years, and the judgment was one of the largest ever.
However, two judges ruled that they felt Hamm's ability to continue with his appeal was unfair while two other judges wrote that refusing to allow Arnell's appeal to continue due to cashing the check was excessively harsh. The trial had ended in November 2014 and had been ongoing since 2012.
Even when individuals are divorcing with far fewer assets than the couple in this case, the division of property may become contentious. Some couples may choose to work with attorneys to try to avoid litigation and instead resolve the issues using negotiation or mediation. This may be particularly helpful when issues around child custody and support are involved because if parents can work together amicably, it may be better for the children as well. However, if other resolution methods fail, individuals still have the option of going to court to resolve conflicts.
Source: Reuters, "Court dismisses appeal in $1 billion divorce of oil executive Hamm," Brian Grow and Joshua Schneyer, April 28, 2015