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Prenuptial agreement might have helped wealthy couple

For all their wealth, the ultrarich do not seem to have any special abilities when it comes to sustaining a marriage. So while the folks that are regularly featured in society columns and gossip pages may not be able to provide us with advice on how to keep a marriage together, their lives may prove instructive in other ways.

Take for example the case of oil magnate Harold Hamm and his ex-wife Sue Ann Arnall. It appears that the divorce between these two former spouses is just about settled, though it is likely at least one of them wishes they had created a prenuptial agreement prior to saying "I do."

In an effort to get the divorce settled, Mr. Hamm agreed to pay Ms. Arnall almost $1 billion. He had even submitted a check to her in that amount. But Ms. Arnall believed the settlement was too small and filed an appeal. According to a wealth tracking company, Mr. Hamm's wealth exceeded $20 billion as of last year. Ms. Arnall claims that her work contributed to this very large accumulated total.

But recently, Ms. Arnall cashed the check. Mr. Hamm's attorney confirmed the check's deposit. The attorney also expressed the belief that by doing so, Ms. Arnall will likely discontinue litigation.

It is easy to be distracted by the large numbers that were involved in this case. But the basic situation is no different from any other marital relationship where both parties play a role in the accruing of wealth.

A prenuptial agreement can hold several advantages for a married couple. First, it can help protect the assets of both parties. Second, should the marriage come to a premature end, then the agreement can help speed up the divorce process. This means less time and money spent on litigation.

If you are about to get married, you may wish to consider seeking the services of a Texas family law attorney to help you prepare a prenuptial agreement.

Source: CNN Money, “Oil tycoon's ex accepts $975 million after all,” Charles Riley, Jan. 9, 2015

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