(Reuters) – Sue Ann Hamm, the ex-wife of Oklahoma oil magnate Harold Hamm who was awarded cash and assets worth more than $1 billion in the couple’s divorce this week, plans to appeal the judgment on grounds that it grossly undervalues the marital wealth she is entitled to.
Feeling shortchanged by a ruling that allows the Continental Resources
She believes the decision was “not equitable,” Barber said.
On Monday, Oklahoma County Court Judge Howard Haralson ordered the CEO, who is believed to own more oil than any other American, to pay his ex-wife $995 million. The ruling allows her to keep additional assets, including a California ranch and an Oklahoma home, worth tens of millions more.
The Hamm v. Hamm divorce judgment is one of the largest in U.S. history, but Sue Ann’s award is a small fraction of the wealth Haralson allowed Harold Hamm to keep.
He holds more than 68 percent of Continental’s stock, a stake valued at around $13.5 billion today. It was worth more than $18 billion before the 9 1/2-week divorce trial began in August. Continental shares have fallen sharply since then, in line with global oil prices.
Haralson ruled that $1.4 billion of the growth in his Continental shares during the marriage was “marital capital” to be split with Sue Ann. The rest was awarded to Harold as “separate property.”
“Sue Ann is disappointed in the outcome of this case. She dedicated 25 years as Harold’s faithful partner in family and business,” Barber said.
A lawyer and economist, Sue Ann Hamm worked at Continental during stretches of the couple’s marriage, which began in 1988. At one point, the ruling says, she was an executive in charge of Continental’s crude marketing division. She left the company in 2008. At other times she worked in the home, helping to raise the couple’s two children.
In Oklahoma, a divorce appeal can be heard by a State Court of Appeals panel or the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
A higher court could review the case and affirm Haralson’s judgment, or modify the award. It could also send the case back to Haralson to be re-tried.
Family law experts say the process could take anywhere from 18 months to several years. Sue Ann Hamm has 30 days from when the ruling was filed, on Nov. 10, to appeal it.