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Woman appealing $1 billion divorce settlement award

Pennsylvanians may be intrigued by a case out of Oklahoma in which the former wife of an oil tycoon is appealing her award of nearly $1 billion in her divorce. The woman, who filed for divorce from her husband in 2012, was awarded $995 million following a 2-month contested final divorce hearing. Despite the large amount, she is apparently dissatisfied.

The woman and her husband were married for 26 years. During the course of their marriage, the husband's stock in his oil company reportedly increased in value to $18 billion. The man's stock holdings account for 68 percent of the stock of the company he started in 1967. According to the woman's attorney, her award accounted for just 6 percent of the marital wealth, and she is claiming the division was thus not equitable.

Under the current order, the man must pay his ex-wife $323 million by the end of the year, followed by $7 million monthly payments to pay off the remaining balance. She was additionally awarded the couple's $4.7 million home as well as a California ranch valued at $15 million. The husband retained ownership of his company. The wife's appeal will either be heard by a State Court Appeals Panel or directly tried in front of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, both allowed under the state's law. The process reportedly could last multiple years.

Of course, most divorce settlements do not involve such a large amount of money or someone appealing an award of close to $1 billion. While most people will never be in the situation in which this couple are, those who go through a high-asset divorce will likely encounter many disputes and complexities associated with the property division portion of their case.

Source: CBS News, "Divorce, 1 percent style: a $1 billion settlement appeal", Aimee Picchi, November 14, 2014

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