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Will you lose all your wealth in a divorce?

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are finalizing their divorce details. According to USA Today, Bezos, who is the wealthiest person in the world, is parting with a fair amount of Amazon stock. The former couple both announced some of the divorce terms via Twitter.

MacKenzie will keep 25 percent of their Amazon stock, and she is giving him her interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin. Blue Origin is Bezo’s space exploration company.

She will be the third richest woman in the world

Twenty-five percent of their shares is the same as about 4 percent of Amazon’s total stock. With Amazon’s current stock prices, these stocks are worth about $35.7 billion. This would make MacKenzie the third richest woman in the world, and she would rank 26th among the wealthiest people on the planet.

Bezos will remain the richest person in world.

Property is to be divided equitably

When couples divorce in New Jersey, property is divided by equitable distribution. All marital property is divided equitably, though not necessarily half and half. Marital property is considered all the property acquired during a marriage. However, assets you inherited or received as a gift are usually not subject to division.

Marital property are assets gained during the marriage

In the case of the Bezos split, the couple met while working at a hedge fund in New York. She helped him start Amazon, so that would make their stake in the company a marital asset.

However, there are other factors considered during equitable distribution. The court will look at:

  • How long you were married
  • Each partner’s health and age
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity and current income
  • Assets and debts of each partner
  • Whether one partner worked as a homemaker
  • Value of all owned property
  • Whether one spouse helped the other pursue education or business goals
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • Educational or medical needs of the children

 

There may be other factors the court considers when dividing property. Generally, it does not matter if one spouse committed adultery. However, if that spouse wasted a lot of marital funds on the affair, this may be considered during property division.

There may be room for negotiation

If you are concerned about keeping a piece of property or a business, you can likely negotiate that in a divorce settlement. You may have to give up something else to do so, so if you are unsure how to proceed, you may want to seek experienced legal guidance.

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