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In late 2014, oil tycoon Harold Hamm called a divorce settlement with his ex-wife, Sue Ann Arnall, equitable and fair, awarding her about $1 billion. Since then his holdings in oil have decreased dramatically and he argues that her award is a substantially larger proportion than he first agreed to.

1. Who is Harold Hamm and how did he amass his fortune?
2. Why might Oklahoma divorce law result in an unusual financial settlement in this case?
3. What does “wealth gained passively” mean?
4. Given Mr. Hamm’s wealth when the first award was crafted, by what percentage has Ms. Arnall’s award increased based on Mr. Hamm’s current holdings?
5. According to the video, what are some of the tax issues associated with this case?
6. What are some of the reasons why the IRS will carefully scrutinize the tax returns of these individuals?


Ohlheiser, A. (2015). A guide to the billion-dollar divorce appeal that’s headed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The Washington Post, January 3 (Retrievable online at

Sequence Media video. (2014). Harold Hamm’s Billion Dollar Divorce: Taxation Possibilities, Nov. 19 (Retrievable online at