Jeff Bezos Uncontested Divorce
It does not need to be said that divorces are messy, especially if there is a lot of money at stake. Yet somehow the biggest divorce of all time ended quickly and seemingly amicably. Early this year Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, split with his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie. The couple married in Florida in 1993 before Amazon took over the world of buying things and MacKenzie helped her husband build his empire as the company’s first employee.
The marriage, however, headed towards dissolution last year when the National Enquirer exposed Jeff’s affair with Lauren Sanchez. The Enquirer was also allegedly attempting to blackmail the Amazon chief by threatening to publish illicit photos of him. The tabloid for its part called it “the biggest investigation in Enquirer history.”
With no pre-nup signed, four children, five houses, a Texas ranch and $150 billion at stake among other assets, you would have been forgiven for assuming the divorce would be the knock down drag out divorce case of the century. Yet, three months later Jeff and MacKenzie had already announced the terms of their separation. MacKenzie gave up her interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin. She also gave up voting rights associated with her shares and is not challenging for a position on the Amazon board. She does, however, retain 25 percent of their shared Amazon stock.
That 25 percent ranks her 22nd on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index and makes her worth an estimated $36.6 billion. She has already pledged to give half of her wealth to charity.
But how did the divorce go so quickly and smoothly? While we are not privy to the divorce settlement agreement itself, it seems the couple split through an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, a couple simply needs to come to an agreement on major issues such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and division of assets. Once the spouses reach terms they just have formalize it into a divorce settlement agreement and submit it to the divorce court.
That sounds easy enough and some may assume that an attorney would not be needed in such a case but it would certainly be a mistake to ever go through a divorce without an attorney. Consider the volume and complexity of the assets the Bezoses were dividing. Any mistake or ambiguity in the terms of the agreement could turn what was an amicable process into the legal battle the spouses were trying to avoid in the first place.
It is also important to hire the right attorney. Many divorce attorneys only have one mode, attack. Hiring an attorney that is overly aggressive and trying to milk every penny, can turn an uncontested divorce into a full-blown adversarial divorce proceeding very quickly. Some divorce attorneys may even prefer that to be the case since it will result in higher fees.
If you are attempting to amicably resolve a divorce, you will want to hire someone who is on the same page with you and your plan. Ashley Aulls is a trusted Florida attorney who has a strong focus on uncontested divorces. Reach out to him at (352) 593-4115 and find out what he can do for you and your family.