Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, and his wife MacKenzie are getting divorced.
The billionaire executive and his wife of 25 years have announced through a tweet signed by both of them that they are divorcing.
Jeff and MacKenzie, who share four children and launched a charitable fund together, dubbed the Day One Fund, made the announcement three days before Jeff’s 55th birthday, and discussions have already turned to how separating finances are going to turn out.
Their divorce is being done in Washington, where everything acquired throughout the marriage, from real estate to income, is considered joint property.
Washington, along with another 9 U.S. states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, and Alaska by opt-in agreement) entitles their residents to a 50/50 split of all assets during a divorce.
According to Business Insider, everything acquired throughout the marriage is considered joint property (except assets given as a gift or inherited, or separate property owned before marriage, so long as it stayed separate throughout the marriage), so when a couple separates, each spouse is entitled to exactly half of the assets. That includes real estate, income, cars, furniture, stocks, and retirement accounts.
In contrast, in the other US 41 states, a marital estate is made up of assets acquired under each spouse’s name; they’re not technically considered joint or community property unless both names are on the deed. Upon divorce, the assets are divided “fairly” at a judge’s discretion, taking into account each person’s earning potential or income, financial needs, contributions, and personal assets, rather than simply splitting it 50/50.
To protect personal assets in either case, couples can set up a prenuptial agreement, which establishes terms for a division of assets in the event of a divorce.