- Published: Friday, 14 November 2014 16:30
According to a recent article from ABC News, billionaire energy mogul Harold Hamm is planning to appeal a court-ordered divorce settlement that requires him to give around $1 billion to his now ex-wife. The judge awarded her $995.4 billion in alimony from the couple’s 20-year-marriage.
She also plans to appeal this ruling on grounds that the settlement amounts to only around five percent of their estimated combined marital wealth of $18 billion. Hamm earned much of his money from being an early investor in shale oil.
The divorce judge’s spousal support order requires Hamm to pay his ex-wife $322 billion by the end of 2014, and make payments of $7 million per month until the balance has been paid. She was also awarded the couple’s marital home worth around $4.6 million, another home worth $800,000, and California estate worth over $17 million. The court calculated her total award to approximately $2 billion.
As a Washington, DC divorce attorney, I understand that even though most Americans can’t even contemplate having a marital state worth that much, fights over spousal support and child support can be just as important for the family struggling to make ends meet.
The law in Washington, DC requires the family court to consider a variety of factors when making a spousal support (alimony) calculation. The court will consider the ability of the party seeking alimony to support him or herself, the standard of living that existed during the marriage or domestic partnership, the duration of the marriage, physical and mental conditions of each party and other factors related to the income and needs of both parties.
Some spousal support awards are made as a one time or lump sum payment, some are made in monthly installments, and other are a combination of both. In the case of a payout over time, either party can request a modification based upon a material change in circumstances. Examples of this would be where the paying party loses a job, or the party receiving payments no longer needs spousal support.
It is important to keep in mind that some parties will try to hide or shield their assets during the spousal support calculation phase of a DC divorce. This is common in areas where one party is self-employed or makes most of his or her money from investments.
If this situation applies to you, speak with this with your divorce attorney so that he can investigate the matter and if necessary, work with a forensic accountant or other economic expert to figure out what the value of the marital estate really is.
It should be noted that some property is considered to be outside of the marital estate such as an inheritance of only spouse before the marriage. Unless there is a commingling of assets, this money may be excluded from any property division that is normally done along with a spousal support calculation, if requested by one or both parties to the DC divorce case. However, all cases are different as the facts can vary and you should speak with your attorney about your particular situation.
If you are in need of assistance with a Washington, DC divorce case, please contact the Law Office of Daniel A. Gross, PLLC for a confidential consultation at 202-596-5716