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Billion-dollar divorce settlements

by | Nov 14, 2016 | Firm News, High Asset Divorce |

Many California residents who get divorced lose money in the process. they often experience a drop in income after a split, and marital assets that are divided in a property division settlement could feel like a financial loss for one of the parties. While divorce is expensive for most people, there are only a handful of couples in the world that have reached settlements exceeding $1 billion.

In 2014, oil and gas executive Harold Hamm wrote his ex-wife Sue Ann Hamm a check for $974.8 million to settle their divorce. After divorce costs for two years of litigation and the division of marital property, Hamm’s fortune was down by roughly $1 billion as a result. Casino entrepreneurs Steve and Elaine Wynn were married and divorced twice. Though the exact terms of the couple’s settlements were never made public, Elaine is thought to have kept $1 billion in the 2010 settlement.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch reportedly handed over $1.7 billion to his ex-wife Anna after their divorce was finalized in 1999. The settlement award was mainly paid in the form of News Corp. stock shares. Jocelyn Wildenstein, the New York socialite known as ‘Cat Woman” because of her plastic surgery, received $2.5 billion in her divorce settlement after she split from Alec Wildenstein in 1999. Jocelyn was also paid $100 million annually for 13 years.

A person who is going through a high asset divorce may want to have representation from an attorney whether or not there is a prenuptial agreement. An attorney may be able to argue for a spouse’s best interests during property division negotiations. If a higher-earning spouse is worried about a possible order for ongoing alimony payments, an attorney may help to negotiate a lump sum payment instead.