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Divorce and whopping settlements among moguls

Phoenix couples are aware that not all marriages last. Depending on the circumstances, the split may turn contentious, especially when significant properties and assets are involved. Local residents of Maricopa County may have heard some of the prominent names like Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, who recently filed for a divorce.

Harold Hamm, one of the richest people in the United States, is currently divorcing his wife, Sue Ann Hamm. The divorce settlement is expected to be complicated due to high assets and business interests. Hamm owns 68 percent of Continental, a stake estimated to be over $11 billion. Many believe that theirs will be one of the most expensive divorce cases of all time.

Thus far, the divorce of Rupert and Anna Murdoch holds the title as the most expensive divorce in the business world. After 32 years of marriage, the estranged wife reportedly walked away with a $1.7 billion settlement, which included stock in News Corporation, the company owned by her former husband. Next in line is the divorce of Bernie Ecclestone, the name behind Formula One Racing, who paid a whopping $1.2 billion to his ex-wife, Slavica Ecclestone.

With assets ranging into the billions, couples like these often have a premarital agreement in place. Such agreements can address property like real estate, financial accounts and personal belongings that spouses bring into the marriage, but they can also stipulate how income, expenses and debts during the marriage will be handled in the event of a divorce. In fact, more and more couples of traditional, modest means are finding today that a premarital agreement makes sense for them. Once perceived as unromantic, couples today see a premarital agreement as a way to minimize both expense and the risk of acrimony if the marriage does not work out.

Whether Phoenix residents are contemplating a premarital agreement or perhaps a divorce with significant property division, an experienced legal professional can help ensure their interests are protected.

Source: industryleadersmagazine.com, "5 Most Expensive Divorces in the Business World," Anna Domanska, March 22, 2013

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