Not everybody gets the chance to turn down a $975 million check in their lifetime. But that’s exactly what Sue Ann Arnall did back in January. Working through a very bitter (and very public) divorce, Arnall initially declined a check from her now ex-husband Harold Hamm, a billionaire and CEO of Continental Resources. Arnall, however, had a change of heart and cashed the nearly $1 billion check after first refusing to deposit it.
It’s widely known that the Hamm-Arnall divorce may well be the most expensive in history – costing up to $5 billion. And while not all divorces risk losing billions, they can still be significantly damaging, especially for a family business.
According to the US Census Bureau, an estimated 3.7 million businesses in the US are family businesses, jointly owned by the husband and wife. While it may not be a topic that is easy to discuss – especially for a seemingly happily married couple who co-owns a company – it is necessary.
For couples going into business together, forethought is critical. Before going into business with your spouse, it is always best to have a plan and be in agreement about what will happen to the family business and its assets in the event of a separation, divorce or death. The typical solutions for a family business caught in divorce are spousal buyouts or selling the business and splitting the proceeds.
REGENERATION recommends making a plan now, no matter what stage you are in with your business – or your marriage. This plan will open up communication among your family members and drive the conversation to an agreeable common ground. Our goal is to help family businesses function successfully. When a family business comes to an impasse, we want to make sure you and your family are taken care of and that a reasonably fair solution can be reached.
Looking for more information? Give us a call, we would love to chat with you.