18 Jan

Dividing MacKenzie Bezos’s Fortune

We keep hearing about the divorce of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos and how “his” fortune of $135 to $140 billion related to Amazon will be divided.

People are speculating that there is no pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement. Amazon was started after the couple was married, so the assets may be owned jointly and subject to a 50/50 split.

As we often see in cases in which the husband is the “moneyed” spouse (the one with the business involvement and the one whose name is on the paychecks), people talk about how much he will have to “give” his wife in the divorce. But where community property is involved, the spouses own the property jointly. Neither is “giving” property to the other. Instead, the property is divided.

People think about the fact that Jeff ran Amazon, and that the stock is owned by him. They discount the fact that absent some sort of contract between Jeff and MacKenzie, the assets are owned jointly. (Many don’t realize that they actually started Amazon together and both worked in the business for years.)

This isn’t about MacKenzie “getting” part of Jeff’s fortune. It’s not about Jeff “losing” part of his assets. Their marital property is jointly owned and should be divided accordingly.

Jeff Bezos may be the world’s richest man. But his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, is the world’s richest woman. It’s THEIR money.

 

 

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