Billion-dollar divorce holds lessons for everybody

Oil tycoon's divorce shows why a prenuptial agreement is so important

A recent high-net-worth divorce case in Oklahoma is likely to be of interest to readers throughout the U.S., including Indiana. According to Forbes, a major oil tycoon was recently ordered to pay close to $1 billion to his ex-wife as part of their divorce settlement. Although most people aren't likely to be handing over that much money in their own divorces anytime soon, the case does come with some important lessons that everyone can learn.

Billion-dollar settlement

The Oklahoma County judge ordered the oil executive to pay his former wife a total of $995.5 million. The order was issued after two years of legal battles which, at one point, seemed to threaten the man's oil business. He owns 70 percent of the company's shares and there were fears that if the ex-wife got enough of those shares then his influence could drop below 50 percent. That situation did not happen.

Although most readers' eyes might water at such vast sums, this particular individual will still be left with a hefty $14 billion net worth even after the settlement. Some analysts even say that the wife got far less than she deserved, considering the couple had been married 26 years. She only got about seven percent of the marital assets.

Lack of prenuptial agreement

As Time also pointed out, although the large sums of money involved make this case unique, it nonetheless offers important lessons for those who can't quite manage a $1 billion payment so easily. Unusually for such a wealthy couple, this couple did not have a prenuptial agreement and were thus subject to Oklahoma state laws about how to divide the marital assets and property.

While prenuptial agreements are particularly common for high-net-worth individuals, they can be useful in any marriage. Although many couples shy away from discussing a prenuptial agreement, such an agreement can provide a sense of security and help protect valued assets in the event that future circumstances change.

Family law advice

As the above story shows, sound advice and preparation is important for all individuals when it comes to family legal matters, no matter their wealth. For anybody that has their own family law concerns, including about divorce, child custody and support, or prenuptial agreements, an experienced family law attorney can be an invaluable resource. Such an attorney will be able to provide expert guidance on how best to approach and ultimately resolve a pressing family law issue.