If you’ve seen the news or been on social media within the last couple weeks, chances are you’ve seen all about the Bezos Divorce. If you haven’t, I’ll give you a summary.
Jeff Bezos is the founder and creator of Amazon
He divorced his wife of 25 years
At the time of the divorce filing, he was worth an estimated $150 BILLION DOLLARS!
The parties reached a divorce settlement and the wife will walk away with a net worth of about $35 BILLION dollars
These types of situations (where wealth people divorce, and one spouse gets a large settlement) always end up in debate.
Some people think she received too much.
She didn’t create Amazon, he did.
She wasn’t putting in all those hours at the office turning that business into the powerhouse it is today, he did.
Others think she received too little.
Whichever side of the debate you’re on, one thing is clear: she could have received much more if they were divorced in New Jersey.
I did a little research and it appears the parties divorced in the State of Washington, where they lived, and Washington law, like New Jersey laws, could have entitled her to as much as half of their assets.
Their assets didn’t just include Amazon, it also included several properties they owned, as well as several other businesses he purchased or created during the marriage and significant stock holdings.
One other thing to keep in mind. She was making some pretty good money herself. Maybe not Amazon CEO money but she had two successful books that were published and for which she received a couple awards. Don’t think she was just sitting back relaxing letting the Amazon money roll in. I say that to say that if this went to Court, her assets also would’ve gotten lumped into the pile and distributed.
Remember, marriage is a legally binding relationship. Unless you have a pre-nuptial agreement, EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING purchased by either spouse during the marriage can allow the other spouse to raise a claim against during the divorce. They didn’t have a pre-nup, probably because Amazon wasn’t created until after they married, and it didn’t appear either had significant assets at the time of the marriage.
That means all of those things, Amazon, several properties, several businesses (even if purchased in the name of one spouse), it all becomes subject to equitable distribution at the time of the divorce. That is at least what New Jersey laws say but other states may do things differently.
So before the debate continues and people call her “money hungry” or “not deserving”, keep in mind it could have become much nastier and she likely would have walked away with significantly more money.
What’s the bottom line?
Keep in mind that marriage is a legal relationship. All the good (i.e. assets) and bad (i.e. debts) must get divided up at the time of the Divorce. Don’t think buying something in only your name will prevent your spouse from receiving a portion of that value at the time of the Divorce.
Now, we all know this Divorce could have gotten ugly between these two with all the money they could have fought over. So I give them praise for quickly (i.e. in only 3 months) reaching an Agreement and keeping it civil.
Talk to you soon!