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The Most Costly Breakups

When a marriage goes sour and the couple's net worth is in the stratosphere, divorce becomes increasingly more complicated. The absence of an official prenuptial agreement, differences in international law and circumstances surrounding of the breakup can result in large sums being paid out in the divorce settlement.

In 2013, two high-profile divorces were announced, with implications for big payouts.

In March, Reuters broke the news that Continental Resources CEO Harold and Sue Ann Hamm were splitting up. The oilman's wealth is estimated at over $11 billion and if speculation is true that the Hamms have no prenuptial agreement, the divorce has the potential to be the most expensive ever. For now, the Hamms are reportedly still working out the details.

In June, Rupert Murdoch announced an end to his marriage with his wife of 14 years, Wendi Deng (photo at left). Sources close to the situation say Murdoch does have a prenup, which will limit the amount of compensation she will receive. It's a wise move considering Murdoch's divorce with second wife Anna topped out at $1.7 billion. (His first marriage also ended in divorce.)

Without a prenup, some high net worth individuals have found divorce to be a costly endeavor: Some of the world's most wealthy people have seen their net worth cut in half by a divorce settlement.

Although most settlements don't get finalized until well after the divorce takes place, there is always speculation when a high net worth divorce is on the horizon, as was the case when Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren went through their highly public split. For Woods, there was originally speculation that the settlement could reach $750 million, although in the end, the actual figure was considerably less, ranking 16th all time.

So, what are the biggest divorce settlements and who has paid the most? There have been several recently that have cracked the top 15. Click ahead for the full list.

By Paul Toscano, CNBC.com
Updated 14 June 2013

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