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Billionaire may lose large amount of money in divorce

When a marriage goes well, both people may feel they are winning: They can share assets and property in addition to enjoying each other's companionship. However, when a marriage goes sour, both individuals may struggle with ending the marriage in addition to saying goodbye to valuable assets in Massachusetts. In a recent situation, a billionaire stands to lose a fortune -- literally -- in what could be one of the biggest divorce settlements revealed to the public to date.

In this out-of-state situation, billionaire Harold Hamm has a controlling stake in the company Continental Resources Inc. He has 125 million shares, the enhanced value of which might end up being distributed as a marital asset. This is because, even though the shares' value at the time of their marriage is not viewed as a joint asset -- as the stock is actually considered a premarital asset -- the value of the appreciation of those shares certainly could still be a joint asset. That has yet to be determined in court.

Hamm and his wife did not have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Hamm's net worth is more than $17 billion, making him one of the world's richest individuals. This divorce could result in one of the largest divorce settlements to date; so far, the largest one was worth $1 billion, between an executive named Bernie Ecclestone and his wife.

Even if they lack a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, a couple who is getting a divorce may still strive to reach an agreement at the negotiation table concerning how to divide property and assets on their own terms. Sometimes, however, the two parties simply don't see eye-to-eye, so a court will have to get involved. Nonetheless, it is within the rights of both individuals to pursue a method of dividing assets that best suits their personal situations in Massachusetts.

Source: businessweek.com, Continental Resources Founder's Stake at Risk in Divorce, Brendan Coffey, March 19, 2014

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