Bill and Melinda Gates announced earlier this month that they were finally getting divorced after 27 years of marriage. Melinda filed in Washington State, citing that the marriage was irretrievably broken. The fourth richest man in the world and his wife are worth an estimated $145 billion (at the time of filing). The marital estate is vast and complex, and much of it is earmarked for philanthropy through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which the former couple will continue to co-chair.
In place before the announcement
Rather than having the courts oversee the division of assets, the Gates drafted a separation agreement as part of their amicable split. This likely occurred over the course of months with the help of their lawyers. If the agreement holds up in court, which is likely, this arrangement paves the way for a smooth divorce with few other obstacles – all three children are grown, so there are no custody issues.
Keeping the financials private
The news of the divorce was trending news around the world. So, it is no surprise that the Gates’, like other super-wealthy or famous couples, used this agreement to keep their arrangements under wraps. Even though this divorce will get reviewed by a judge, the separation agreement will be referenced without details in the court’s public records. These agreements can also keep private financial arrangements and other information about the marriage.
They did this with help
Both Bill and Melinda, who once was a General Manager at Microsoft, are bright people. They were smart enough to know that any binding legal agreement regarding their divorce needed to be drafted and reviewed by family law attorneys and financial experts. Those with large, complicated or high-profile marriages here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area can turn to an experienced, Board-Certified Texas Family Law expert attorney practicing here in Texas. They can help protect their client’s interests when drafting their agreements and handle all the other details involved in the divorce process.