Only a few days after the Christmas festivities ended, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced their decision to divorce “after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation”.
MacKenzie, novelist and one half of what is said to be the world’s richest couple, could be set to become the world’s wealthiest woman when she divorces the Amazon CEO after a 25-year marriage, with Jeff Bezos being worth an estimated $136 billion. That is, if she receives half of the fortune.
At this point, it’s unclear how their divorce settlement will look. In the meantime, let’s take a little look back on their marriage and what could happen when they divorce…
How did the couple meet?
Jeff and MacKenzie met when they were both working at an investment management firm. Jeff, who was then a vice president, was on the interview panel when MacKenzie applied for a job at the company.
In an interview with Vogue back in 2013, MacKenzie mentioned that it was hearing Jeff’s laugh in the next-door office which had attracted her to him. She said: “How could you not fall in love with that laugh?”
Within months, the pair were engaged and then married. They now have four children.
Do they have a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is an agreement in which a couple set out what they would like to happen to their assets should they divorce. In England and Wales, prenuptial agreements are not legally binding, but if undertaken in the right manner, the court may take them into account in determining how matrimonial finances should be divided up on divorce.
Whether or not Jeff and MacKenzie have a prenuptial agreement is unclear.
Since they were married before Jeff founded Amazon, they could end up splitting everything down the middle. Indeed, according to the Guardian newspaper, Washington state law says that if there is an absence of a prenuptial agreement, any property that is acquired during a marriage would normally be divided equally between the two people.
It may also be possible that MacKenzie could end up with a large stake in Amazon as part of the divorce settlement, as, according to Business Insider, most of Jeff’s net worth is in the form of Amazon stock.
However, it’s worth noting here that they may have chosen to sign a postnuptial agreement when Amazon started to grow (postnups are signed after marriage, prenups before but they have the same function). Nonetheless, any settlement they reach could be the largest one ever.
When announcing their divorce, the couple said they would continue their “shared lives as friends”. “We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for every one of the years we have been married to each other. If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again.”
Do you want to find out whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may be right for you? Get in touch to speak to one of our experienced family lawyers today.