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Multi-billion settlement in oil tycoon’s divorce

On behalf of The Walters Law Group, Ltd. posted in Divorce on Friday, June 21, 2013.

A wealthy oil tycoon could end up losing billions of dollars just because he got married 25 years ago without asking his wife-to-be to sign a prenuptial agreement. The oil baron is reportedly worth $11 billion, so the result could be the largest divorce settlement in history.

The couple reportedly started having marital problems in 1998. In 2003, his wife moved out of his house and to a town about a hundred miles away, where she lives with the couple’s two daughters. They have not lived together since, and his lawyers said the union has been ‘loveless” since the 1990s. The wife then proceeded to make audio and video recordings of her husband’s activities in their prior residence. Just one surveillance bill totaled nearly $10,000. The couple has agreed to a no-fault divorce. That makes it unlikely that any allegations of adultery will be considered in the case.

They agreed to set the official date of separation as 2012, even though they separated in 2003. The value of his fortune has risen substantially since 2007, so the newly acquired wealth might be considered part of the marital pool. Experts familiar with the case say the wife might get as much as $3 billion or more. If so, that would make her one of the 20 richest women in the U.S.

Financing the settlement could cost the oilman, who owns the largest portion of American oil, a majority stake in his company. The divorce case is of interest to Wall Street.

Determining settlements in a divorce can be complicated. A family law attorney may be able to ensure that assets are fairly distributed and contest unfair settlements.

Source: NBC News, “No prenup could cost oil baron billions in divorce”, June 14, 2013