In divorces, marital assets are subject to division while separate property is not. Thus, which of these two categories a given piece of property is found to be in can be very impactful. One thing that can play a role in whether an asset is considered a marital asset or separate property is the timing of its acquisition. Generally, if a person obtained a piece of property prior to getting married, the property is considered separate property.
Recently, in a very high asset divorce case, a judge made a ruling declaring certain pieces of property separate property. The divorce case involves the billionaire businessman Harold Hamm and his estranged wife.
Hamm founded the company Continental Resources and holds a controlling interest in the company. A little over 122 million of the shares that Hamm has in the company are ones that he acquired prior to his marriage. It is these shares that the judge’s recent decision regarded. The judge found that the shares are not marital property and not subject to division, on the grounds that the shares are premarital assets.
According to Forbes, this decision makes it so Hamm’s controlling interest in the company will not be at risk in the divorce.
There are still a great many other property division matters that have not yet been resolved in this divorce. It will be interesting to see what ends up happening when it comes to these other matters.
Experienced family law attorneys understand how when a property was acquired and other factors influence how different types of property are categorized in a divorce. Thus, such attorneys can help answer questions divorcing individuals have regarding property categorization and can provide assistance in categorization disputes.
Source: Forbes, “Judge: Billionaire Hamm To Retain Control Of Continental Resources In Divorce Settlement,” Christopher Helman, March 4, 2014