Joe Cordell Speaks To Forbes.com About Billionaire's Divorce

Forbes.com Interviews Joe Cordell About Billionaire’s Divorce

Joe Cordell Forbes.com interviewCordell & Cordell Principal Partner Joe Cordell recently spoke with Forbes.com’s Robert Pagliarini on Sudden Wealth Radio about the recent divorce of billionaire Harold Hamm.

Mr. Cordell touched on a number of aspects about the case, which is shaping up to be one of the largest divorce settlements in United States history. Most notably, he pointed out the odd position its placed each side of the table in the divorce. 

Mr. Hamm, who despite having essentially no education, acquired Continental Resources in 1967. When he married his now divorced spouse Sue Ann, the company was worth approximately $50 million. The company eventually appreciated in value to $18 billion.

A judge initially awarded Ms. Hamm, which is now Ms. Arnall, $1.4 billion, which she rejected.

The point of contention in the case is whether the appreciation in Continental’s value should be considered a marital or separate asset. The law in Oklahoma, and many other states, considers property owned before marriage separate property. But if that property appreciates in value due to the owner’s hard work, then the appreciation is considered marital.

Mr. Hamm is in the unique position of arguing that his company’s gain in value was due essentially to luck. On the other side, his former spouse is making the case that her ex-husband is a savvy and skilled businessman who built this multibillion-dollar company from the ground up.

Mr. Cordell also described how the case has drawn attention to the importance of getting a prenuptial agreement, especially if you own considerable stock in a corporation.

“Prenuptial agreements speak not only to the incidence of divorce, but also to the incidence of death,” Mr. Cordell said. “If there is a closely held business, it is critical that there be buy/sell agreements that are incorporated into that planning process.”

Click here to listen to the full interview.

About Shawn Garrison

Shawn Garrison is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell & Cordell UK. He has written countless pieces dealing with the unique child custody and divorce issues that men and fathers face. Through his work on CordellCordell.com, CordellCordell.co.uk, and DadsDivorce.com, Mr. Garrison has become an authority on the complexities of the legal experience and was a content creator for the YouTube series “Dad’s Divorce Live” and additional videos on both the Dad’s Divorce and Cordell & Cordell YouTube channels.

Mr. Garrison has managed the sites of these customers, and fostered the creation of several of their features, including the Cordell & Cordell attorney and office pages, the Dad’s Divorce Newsletter, and the Cordell & Cordell newsletter.