Jeff Bezos, founder of online shopping giant Amazon, is headed for divorce from his wife of many years. With an estimated fortune of more than $136 billion, the division of wealth between the spouses will be of interest to readers in Florida and elsewhere. That’s especially true because Bezos doesn’t have a prenuptial agreement in place, and it’s unclear whether the couple ever signed a postnuptial agreement outlining how their assets would be divided in the event of divorce.
The couple wed before Amazon was founded, and in a state that holds that all property acquired during a marriage is community property and subject to division in a divorce. That means that Bezos could emerge from the process with significantly less wealth. Currently, the couple is putting a friendly face on the matter, releasing a joint statement on Twitter to say that they will be moving forward with an amicable divorce.
Even if a prenuptial agreement had been in place, the terms of that agreement could always be challenged in court. An agreement that is strongly weighted toward the interest of one spouse over the other can be thrown out. Another common ground for overturning a prenup involves issues of coercion. Even signing too close to a wedding can be portrayed as one spouse placing undue pressure on the other.
As Jeff Bezos moves forward toward the legal end of his marriage, Florida spouses may not learn much about the couple or their finances. If the parties do indeed split amicably, the details of their settlement will not become part of public record. In many cases, however, divorces take a far different turn than intended, and many splits that begin amicably end up working their way through the courts.