In the interview, Mr. Cordell reviews how the billion-dollar divorce case is testing the limits of some of the theories of how to divide money in divorce cases.
Generally, anything owned before marriage is considered a separate asset and anything acquired during the course of marriage is considered a marital asset.
The value of assets like stocks and land that appreciate in value over time are generally considered separate assets unless that increase in value was due to the efforts of the owner. Mr. Hamm, who is the CEO of Continental Resources, is put in the position of arguing that the company he owns has seen this dramatic growth by coincidence and not because of any of the work he’s done.
“If, for example, you own an asset such as a stock or a collectible or, for example, a piece of land and you simply hold it during the course of the marriage and it increases in value, that passive appreciation is not considered marital,” Mr. Cordell said. “So the question becomes, along that continuum, what is Continental Resources? Is it more like that stock that was owned at the time they got married and it simply appreciated like if you owned stock in Standard Oil?
“Or is this instead the active efforts of a sort of genius entrepreneur of Harold Hamm?”
Mr. Cordell also discussed the amount of money the lawyers working on this case are likely to make and some of the advantages that men like Mr. Hamm sometimes have in divorce cases.
Watch the entire interview below.