From Bill to Bezos – Behind the scenes on billionaire divorces
When news of the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates broke a few days ago, shock that the 27-year marriage was coming to an end meant that it made headlines around the globe.
Now, as the dust begins to settle, we take a look at what a divorce settlement involving the fourth richest man in the world may look like.
How will the couple’s $130 billion be divided?
With assets including a private island, a private jet, a $130 million art collection and a $125 million family home, Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce is likely to end up as one of the most expensive divorces in the world.
In 2019, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos was reported to be transferring £29 billion worth of Amazon shares to his ex-wife as part of their divorce settlement, making her the world’s fourth-richest woman.
Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce settlement is reportedly set to be the largest division of assets since Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott’s divorce, which was worth around $150 billion.
Bill and Melinda Gates’ property portfolio, which includes properties across five US states, is expected to be divided as part of the divorce settlement.
Was there a pre-nup?
Court documents have reportedly shown that the couple did not enter into a prenuptial agreement before their wedding 27 years ago.
However, they appear to have made a “separation contract”, which both parties have reportedly signed, which details how their assets will be divided. The specific details of this contract have not been released.
At this moment in time, we can only speculate as to who will keep the $125 million family home, with its pool (complete with underwater music system), private beach (with sand reportedly imported from the Caribbean) and art deco cinema. Bill grew up in the area where the home is situated, but the house also provides a base for the couple’s charitable foundation.
As for the rest of their assets, only time will tell.
Get in touch for advice on what your divorce settlement could look like
Anyone who has been through a divorce will know that the financial settlement can be one of the most stressful parts of the process.
While a 50/50 split of assets is usually the starting point in England and Wales, this does not mean that an equal split of assets is right and fair for every divorcing couple.
To find out what your divorce settlement could look like, get in touch to book your free consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers today.
Neil Graham, a Partner at Grayfords comments as follows:
“Big money cases involving the rich or famous often attract a lot of media coverage. It is unusual, however, for a case to involve quite such significant assets that have all been generated during the marriage. When such large sums of money are at stake it is important to consider where divorce and financial proceedings can be brought and to commence them in the place that will result in the best outcome for a party. In complex cases, it is not just a question of how much money a party should receive but also a question of how that settlement should be structured, especially where some of the assets are difficult to value or may be volatile or more risk-laden. Even in big money cases though the benefit of reaching a settlement, whether that be through mediation or alternative ways of dispute resolution, as opposed to prolonged litigation will reap dividends for the parties and their family.”