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Court awards ex-wife of businessman nearly $1 billion in divorce

Ohio residents may not have heard that, following a divorce trial lasting more than two months, an Oklahoma judge ordered a man to pay his ex-wife a total of $995.4 million in 'property division alimony." For his part, the 68-year-old CEO of a major energy firm was awarded over $2 billion in marital assets. Altogether, his post-ruling net worth is approximately $14 billion, authorities estimate.

The wife's award reportedly consisted of a lump sum payment of $322.7 million, to be paid by the end of 2014. After that, she is to receive at least $7 million per month until the balance due is paid. In addition, she was awarded ownership of the couple's Oklahoma home as well as their ranch in California's Carmel Valley. The value of the latter property is approximately $17 million, authorities reported. Although the wife had sought alimony, this request was denied. The court explained its denial by noting her share of the marital estate was a "substantial sum."

The husband's award included 122 million shares of his energy company. This allowed him to retain a 68-percent ownership of that company. He also was given two of the couple's horses, purportedly worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The CEO issued a statement indicating that he felt the court's order was "fair and equitable."

The couple had been married for 16 years and had no children. The wife first filed for divorce in 2012, and the case went to trial in August 2014.

In a High Asset divorce like this one, dividing the marital property can be extremely complicated. As a result, couples often individually turn for counsel from attorneys who are experienced in divorces involving large estates. In Ohio, it is particularly helpful to have an attorney familiar with specific state rules on taxation, business law and the division of marital assets.

Source: USA Today, "Ex-wife gets nearly $1B in divorce ruling", Kevin McCoy, November 10, 2014

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