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The Bezos fortune gets divided in a private divorce agreement and Amazon doesn’t miss a beat

The Bezos fortune gets divided in a private divorce agreement and Amazon doesn’t miss a beat

MacKenzie Bezos announced earlier today in a tweet that she and, now ex-husband, Jeff Bezos, have settled their financial affairs in a private divorce agreement. Though full details of the Agreement are not publicly available, MacKenzie declared she was “happy” to sign over 75% of the couple’s jointly owned stock in Amazon as well as voting control of her shares and her interests in The Washington Post and the Blue Origin aerospace company.

Following the news of the Bezos family settlement, Amazon’s stock price reportedly dropped by a mere 0.4%. The Bezos’ settlement out of court played a significant role in stabilizing the effect their separation would have on Amazon’s viability, and stock price. Consider the contrary, for a moment—had the Bezos’ litigated their family law dispute, personal financial details would have been made public record, and the very fate of Amazon may have been at the discretion of a family court judge—which could have resulted in an outcome felt around the world.

The success of the Bezos family settlement illustrates key benefits of resolving legal issues out of court: privacy, creativity and a controlled impact on the family business. These same benefits can be realized by family business owners who choose the collaborative process. Collaborative clients are empowered to privately resolve legal issues using creative solutions like share transfers, family trusts and delayed equalization, to name a few, to ensure an orderly transition, preserving the family business, and family legacy for generations.

We have published several other posts on the very topic of how the collaborative process can help family run businesses survive and thrive after divorce. To learn more, click here.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com.

Jeff Bezos Does Not Have a Separation Agreement – But You Should!

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Jeff Bezos Does Not Have a Separation Agreement – But You Should!

Jeff Bezos, the 54-year-old billionaire founder of Amazon.com, and his 48-year-old wife MacKenzie Bezos have decided to divorce.  The couple met in 1993, long before Jeff had even amassed his first million, and they got married six months later.

Now, those more austere newly-wed days are a long-ago memory:  Jeff is currently the richest man on the planet, with an estimated worth of US$137 billion.  He owns 16 percent of Blue Origin, an aerospace manufacturer.

We have to wonder whether Jeff wouldn’t mind turning back the hands of time to those humbler newly-wed days:  It is reported that before exchanging vows he and MacKenzie did not make a separation agreement (which in the U.S. is often called a “pre-nuptial” agreement or simply a “pre-nup”).

Since they will likely file for divorce in the state of Washington where they own a home (and which has a “community property” regime for the equal split of assets on divorce) this means that they will likely split the US$137 billion evenly.  In other words, all income and earnings that were amassed during the marriage are split on a 50-50 basis, which would make MacKenzie the world’s richest woman.

Reportedly, Jeff and MacKenzie’s split is on very amicable terms – and only time will tell whether it will remain so.  Still, the division of assets will likely be complex, because the former pair own vast swaths of land in the U.S. which may be challenging to put a value on, for the purposes of splitting it up equally.

Even though this power-duo did not have a separation agreement, it’s always a good idea to have one – no matter what your net worth is.  That’s because a separation agreement is a negotiated legal contract between you, ideally before you get married, reflecting your pre-agreed resolution to how certain aspects of your relationship will be governed in the event you decide to split later on.

It need not be limited to asset-division:  Under Canadian law it can cover other items such as spousal support, child support, as well as the day-to-day issues relating to any children that you already have.

And, because it is tailored to your unique situation and individual needs, it can be very effective for speeding up your divorce process and cutting down your costs.  The key benefit is that it can avoid altogether the need to go to court or engage in other pricier methods for resolving your disputes.  Even if you later disagree on some unanticipated issues,  a well-thought-out separation agreements can go a long way towards at least narrowing the issues between you.

Few of us have to worry about how to divide tens of billions of dollars upon separation or divorce.  But even if your assets are much more modest now – and even if you consider yourself merely a “billionaire-in-the-making” – a separation agreement is always a great idea to protect what you have now and in the future.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

 

 

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