The announcement that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie are divorcing after 25 years of marriage has generated quite a buzz as this could go down as the most expensive divorce in history with a $137 billion fortune on the line.
Cordell & Cordell divorce attorneys Aaron J. Weaver and Deana Meiners recently appeared on local radio programs discussing the implications of the divorce and how aspects of the case will be handled legally.
Mr. Weaver, an attorney in the firm’s Fairfax office, went on WMAL 630 AM-Washington, D.C., and discussed how the couple’s estate was likely to be split. Since Washington is a community property state, most property acquired during the marriage, excluding gifts and inheritances owned jointly by the parties, will be split 50-50.
Mr. Weaver noted that early reports are that the couple is splitting amicably, which would simplify the process of dividing property, but that could always change.
“What I’ve seen in my practice is it’s not uncommon for parties to start out in a collaborative way seeking settlement and at some point in time someone gets rubbed the wrong way in negotiations, pushes away from the table, and then sometimes mud starts getting slung,” he said.
Ms. Meiners, a Belleville divorce lawyer, emphasized in her appearance on WMAY 970 AM-Springfield how important prenuptial agreements are in cases like this. The Bezoses, like many divorcing couples, do not have a prenup, which could be used to more easily determine terms of the divorce agreement.
“I think when most people get married, they don’t imagine they’re going to be making $137 billion or whatever it might be,” Ms. Meiners said. “They’re not thinking down the road to what retirement is going to be … They’re young, they’re in love, and they’re never going to get divorced.
“It really requires someone to step back and say, ‘If I’m going to protect myself, I need to do it now and imagine a worst-case scenario.”
Click here to listen to Mr. Weaver’s full interview.
Click below to listen to Ms. Meiners’ full interview.