By now you have seen the headlines announcing that “Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos and Wife MacKenzie Divorcing After 25 Years of Marriage.” Included in the details are reports that apparently the couple, despite a combined wealth estimated at close to $140 billion, doesn’t have a prenuptial agreement.
“Although it goes against what many expect from high net-worth couples, it’s really not surprising if they don’t have a prenup,” says Dallas family law attorney Brad LaMorgese of Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP. “This is a couple that married long before Amazon became a billion-dollar enterprise. Right or wrong, not many young couples of modest means enter into a prenup when they are just starting out.”
Absent a prenup, how their amassed fortune is divided might be dictated by geography. With their primary residence listed as Washington, a community property state, the property and marital assets accumulated during the marriage will most likely be evenly split.
“Almost all of their entire fortune was earned during the course of the marriage, and each had a hand in building Amazon, so it would be difficult to argue that they shouldn’t now share in those proceeds,” says Mr. LaMorgese. “There is more than enough money, which can make divorce go smoother as the couple isn’t going to fight for pennies. This type of divorce can be surprisingly amicable simply because neither spouse is going to suffer real financial hardship.
“However, even in an amicable divorce, there is still much work to do. The devil will be in the details. Even the most seemingly air-tight agreement can fall apart if there is a disagreement over the smallest issue. If emotions don’t get in the way, they should be able to sort this out.”
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