$1bn is enough, divorcee told

Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall

The recipient of one of the world's biggest divorce settlements has had her claim for more cash rejected by a judge.

Sue Ann Arnall was awarded $974,790,317.77 last November, but had applied for several billions more, saying that her ex-husband Harold Hamm unfairly retained the vast majority of the couple's $18 billion marital estate.

She had been married to Hamm, the chief executive officer of oil company Continental Resources, for 26 years, but was only awarded 6% of the firm's $14 billion rise in value during that time.

Under Oklahoma law, Hamm was only required to share the part of this that was due to the couple's own efforts. Hamm successfully argued that most of the increase was down to rising oil prices, rather than his own efforts; Arnall disagreed.

However, all this has turned out to be moot, with Oklahoma's Supreme Court
ruling that Arnall isn't entitled to any more - because she'd already cashed the cheque, implicitly accepting the deal.

She will, at least, get to keep what she already has: in January, Hamm launched an appeal of his own, claiming the original settlement was excessive. However, after the court dismissed her bid to re-open the case, Hamm dropped his counter-appeal, saying he'd only launched it to protect his rights.

The £1 billion settlement is certainly one of the largest ever to be awarded in the US: only Jocelyn Wildenstein, wife of businessman and art dealer Alec, is believed to have received more, at $2.5 billion.

Worldwide, the largest is probably the $4.5 billion that Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev was ordered to pay his ex-wife Elena last year.

There have been a number of huge, high-profile divorce settlements recently: last month, for example, businessman Randy Work was ordered to pay his ex-wife £72.3 million. The judge said that the couple's assets were down to the hard work of both, as they'd been equal partners in the marriage for over 20 years.

Most spouses, of course, do rather less well. Indeed, recent research shows that more than eight out of ten women fail to get their husband's pension included in divorce negotiations. And this can cost them dear, with the pension pot often worth more than the house.

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