Ex-wife of US oil billionaire loses divorce appeal

Divorce|April 29th 2015

The ex-wife of a wealthy US oil tycoon has lost an appeal against her divorce settlement.

Sue Ann Arnall filed for divorce from husband Harold Hamm in 2012, claiming that he had been unfaithful. They had been married since 1988. Her husband, now 69, is founder and CEO of highly successful oil firm Continental Resources, based in Oklahoma City, and has an estimated fortune of around $14 billion.

Ms Arnall has reverted to her maiden name since the divorce.

When the case reached court last November, she was awarded a record-breaking $995 million, to be paid in monthly instalments after an initial lump sum, as well as two properties.

But Mr Hamm then offered to pay most of the settlement outright, and gave Sue Ann a cheque for no less than $975 million. His ex-wife subsequently cashed this, despite proceeding with an appeal against the settlement. She argued that her ex-husband had been left with the great majority of the marital assets.

But in a seven-two majority ruling, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has now rejected her appeal because she accepted the payment and had therefore, said the Justices, forfeited her right to appeal. The two dissenting Justices, however, claimed it would be “draconian” to dismiss her claims on that basis alone.

In the same ruling, the Supreme Court allowed an appeal by Mr Hamm to proceed to a hearing. He argued that the size of the settlement was excessive.

Photo of Oklahoma City by Urbanative via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence


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  1. Andrew says:

    That poor, poor woman. Left with only $975m. How will she ever get by?

    And the husband’s cross-appeal will proceed. She might have to give some of it back. She’ll be begging for coins on the streets of Oklahoma City, won’t she?

    I hope she did not cash the cheque on her lawyers’ advice . . .

  2. Andrew says:

    I am also reminded of the story of the ex-husband in California who was paying alimony and resented it.

    So he had a cheque book made up with the cheques overprinted with a photo of him kissing his second and trophy-wife.

    For several months the ex-wife sent them back, then she sued for the money.

    She lost.

    That’s the way to do it!

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