The Most Expensive Hollywood Divorce? $36 Billion Later  

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos completed his divorce from his wife MacKenzie Bezos. There are several fascinating aspects to the Bezos divorce. According to a BBC News report, Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest man in the world. He and his wife still did not have a prenup agreement in place. She received 25% of his money, which is equal to over $36 billion, making it the most expensive divorce to date. Now that the divorce has been finalized, here’s more information on all the things that influenced the divorce proceedings:

The Bezos Divorce Details

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Now that the divorce agreement is complete, we know how Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos split their marital assets. Based on the information from a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, Jeff Bezos kept the following as part of the divorce settlement:

  • 75 percent of the couple’s Amazon shares, which accounts for around 12 percent of the company and was estimated at over $108 billion at the time the divorce settlement was completed;
  • The whole Bezos stake in The Washington Post;
  • MacKenzie Bezos has exclusive voting control over the Amazon shares Jeff owns

According to the SEC filing, MacKenzie Bezos received four percent of Amazon in the divorce settlement (which was worth around $36 billion at the time of the divorce settlement). The settlement’s remaining details were not made public, and they are not obliged to make them public. Furthermore, the divorce deal “may involve further payments for Ms. Bezos.” Given the divorce regulations in Washington State, where the couple separated and Amazon is located, the settlement would include additional pay for MacKenzie Bezos.

Divorce Settlements and Community Property in Washington State

No Las Vegas divorce attorneys were engaged in the Bezos’ divorce since their divorce jurisdiction was in Kings County, Washington State. However, like Nevada, Washington State is a community property state. The United States has just nine community property states. Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, and Wisconsin are the others. In a broad sense, community property means that the couple holds all assets and obligations during the marriage jointly, regardless of who earned the item or incurred the debt; so, what was the difference when it came to splitting the Amazon stock?

Washington State, which not only houses Amazon but also Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos’ children, is a “community property” state. Community property refers to any property owned by the couple as well as property acquired by either spouse after the date of the marriage. Most community property states presume that marital property will be shared equally. Under Washington law, the Act specifies that the court would distribute the property and liabilities of the parties in a fair manner after taking care of the following details:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The nature and size of the communal and distinct property; and
  • The financial conditions of each spouse at the time the property split is to take effect.

Property division laws in Washington state differ from those in many other community property states. Most community property states state that the community property should be divided equally between the spouses. On the other hand, Washington law appears to be more like property distribution rules of “equitable distribution” states, in which marital property is distributed in a way that is equitable to both spouses.

A Washington court is not required to address the particular issues outlined in the statute regarding the division of community property in a state where community property is the norm. However, a divorce settlement agreement must still be reviewed and signed off on by a judge. The court has the authority to decide whether a settlement agreement appears to be extremely unjust and should not become law. If the judge determines that the agreement is fair and that any matters concerning the best interests of the children, the agreement may be approved.

Amazon Wealth Is Community Property and No Prenup Agreement

You might ask why MacKenzie Bezos received such a large share of the Bezoses’ overall fortune. To clarify, the divorced couple did not have a prenup agreement. As a result, the assets from their marriage, termed as “community property” in Washington State, would have to be shared between them. How big of a difference did the Bezos’ lack of a prenuptial agreement make?

According to a Business Insider report, “the majority of the Bezos’ net wealth is in the form of Amazon shares”. Anybody who has followed Jeff Bezos’ career or the Bezos’ divorce is aware, that Jeff Bezos built Amazon after his marriage to MacKenzie. The pair met at D.E. Shaw in New York, where they both worked. As a result, all of the Amazon riches is common property. That wealth is the property of both spouses in the marriage if there is no prenup agreement.

Why Did it Take so Long?

You probably already know that the Bezos pair filed for divorce with his family lawyer back in January 2019. Why did the divorce take so long if it was as friendly as both the couple claim? Even if Jeff or MacKenzie Bezos wanted the divorce process to go faster, they are limited by time constraints under Washington law. In particular, under Washington state law. Anybody who files for divorce must wait 90 days from the date of filing before requesting court approval for a divorce settlement.

Final Verdict

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The proceedings of the Bezos divorce, provides a view on why a prenup and a quality divorce attorney is important. Firstly, the separation would have run a bit smoother and faster if the couple had provided a prenup prior to their relationship. The case also shows how important it is for married couples to hire a good divorce lawyer and family solicitors in order to guarantee a fair and reasonable divorce. The Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos case shows how lengthy and expensive a marital separation can be, accounting for all the different factors such as divorce lawyers, the prenup cost, property, assets, and stocks. Lastly, the overall case seemed fair and justified as both parties received justifiable outcomes of the divorce.




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