Jeff Bezos is an American entrepreneur, owner of the Washington Post, and the co-founder and chief executive of Amazon. His various business ventures allowed him to accumulate a net worth of around $108 billion and cement himself at the top of the billionaire rich list.
Earlier this year, his divorce concluded with what is now by far the biggest divorce settlement in history, but he didn’t simply part ways with 50% of his assets, and his company played a vital role in achieving a solution that worked for both parties.
In this post, we highlight a few takeaways that are worth noting from the Bezos’s high-net-worth divorce.
Lessons Learned from Jeff Bezos’s High-Net-Worth Divorce
1. Avoiding Hostility is Advantageous for Everyone
Due to the nature of the divorce and that it involved such a high-profile individual, it’s safe to say that many people were surprised by the way both parties handled the divorce logically and without hostility.
While this may have been frustrating for journalists looking for a juicy headline, the Bezos’s efficient divorce strategy set a perfect example for people going through a divorce, as it demonstrated how cooler heads will prosper — even when a great deal of money hangs in the balance.
The stress of divorce and separation has a habit of breeding hostility and can create an unpleasant environment for everyone involved, especially for families with children. Avoiding hostility not only makes the divorce process quicker and easier, but it also ensures that both spouses and their children don’t experience any unnecessary trauma.
2. Business Assets Can Be Used to Your Advantage
For business owners, business assets are often the greatest concern because — depending on the outcome of the divorce process — it could lead to the dissolution or liquidation of a company. For this reason, it’s business-related assets that are most fiercely negotiated and, in many cases, are the catalyst for hostility.
This wasn’t the case with Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos’s high-net-worth divorce, though. In fact, it was the use of business assets that allowed both parties to prosper without the need for a financial split that could substantially hamper the future success of Amazon or any of his other entrepreneurial ventures. The former would be especially problematic, considering the clout of this eCommerce and multimedia behemoth.
Rather than the assumed 50/50 split, which would have seen MacKenzie walk away with around $54 billion, she settled for a 4% share of Amazon (valued at $38 billion), while relinquishing her shares of his other business ventures. This allowed the two to achieve a clean and efficient breakup, with no real shared assets to speak of, which allows her to continue to benefit from the success of Amazon.
3. The Value of an Experienced High-Net-Worth Divorce Lawyer
There are many takeaways from Jeff Bezos’s divorce, including the way both parties’ divorce lawyers (known as “solicitors” in the UK) helped them to efficiently navigate their high-net-worth divorce and come out the other side with an “everybody wins” outcome. This demonstrates the importance of finding a divorce lawyer who has the relevant experience to handle your case effectively with an approach that suits your needs.
The richest man in the world no doubt had an impressive and expensive legal team, but that’s not to say affordable divorce lawyers are any less skilled or can’t provide an equally as impressive result. Shopping around for a family lawyer is an essential part of the process to ensure that you find the perfect firm for the task at hand that can also accommodate your budget. The fear of losing significant amounts of money during a divorce will only be worsened if you end up paying out too much in legal fees.
Clayton Miller is a co-founder of KMJ Solicitors, a firm of bespoke divorce lawyers in London. KMJ’s team specializes in all areas of family law, including high-net-worth divorce, separation, child law, prenuptial agreements and more. www.kmjsolicitors.com