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High asset divorce leaves divorcees with unequal wealth

Most Californians will never know what it is like to have their personal wealth grow into the billions of dollars. It seems as though only those individuals who are born into wealth or who have extraordinary luck and perseverance end up with such vast sums of money. While having great wealth may seem like a fantastic benefit to some, few realize the headaches such prosperity creates when an affluent person is subject to a divorce.

For around two years, a very wealthy American couple has been working toward ending its marriage. The husband is a powerful business person in the oil industry and was last estimated to be worth around $14 billion. The couple had been married for more than 25 years when a judge finally ruled on the terms of the couple's divorce.

Under the terms of the divorce the wife will only receive about $1 billion while the husband will retain the balance of the fortune. The court in the matter had to make a very difficult determination regarding whether the husband had gained the wealth through work or through luck. By deciding that much of the wealth had been gained through good fortune, it found that the money was the property of the husband and not the product of work put in during the couple's long marriage.

An expert in the divorce field noted that in most cases a spouse, such as this wife, with a long marriage history would receive around 30 percent of all marital assets. In this instance, however, the wife received less than 10 percent. She will also get to keep some pieces of real estate owned by the couple as well as other items of property acquired during the marriage.

This story about a high asset divorce shows that money cannot solve all of a person's problems. Even the very wealthy must endure challenging family matters that can sometimes result in separations and divorces. When well-off couples choose to end their marriages they can decide to work with attorneys who have experience managing the details of high asset divorces, so that as fair a resolution as possible can be reached.

Source: Forbes, "Billionaire Oilman Harold Hamm To Pay $1 Billion In Divorce," Christopher Helman, Nov. 10, 2014

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