Late Monday afternoon Melinda Gates publicly announced that her marriage to Microsoft founder Bill Gates was officially over. She mentioned that the marriage was irretrievably broken. This has led many people to speculate that the couple has been living apart for quite some time.
Maybe one of the reasons why they did not want to make the divorce official was that they didn’t want to go through the hassle of figuring out their financial situation. Now they could be looking at the most expensive divorce in history.
The year that they got married, 1994, also marked the first time that Bill topped the Forbes list of richest people alive. At the time Gates boasted a net worth of 9.35 billion according to the publication.
Although Bill no longer tops the list his net worth as of 2021 is estimated to be around 129.9 billion dollars. If he had signed a prenup back in 1994 he could have been looking at a less costly divorce settlement for sure.
In the documents that Melinda presented to the court, she clearly states that “spousal support is not needed”. That doesn’t mean though that she is going to be walking away from the marriage empty-handed. Not by a long shot!
The documents state that the assets of the couple are meant to be divided between the two. The keyword here is that their assets will be divided up through what is ultimately stated in a separation agreement. The couple is set to appear in court in April 2022. They have a March date of next year to essentially settle their dispute out of court. In short, this doesn’t mean that the divorce will cost Bill half of his fortune. At the end of the day, the number could be close though.
Another key element in the legal battle is the temporary order that Melinda filed before the court. This essentially means that Bill is not going to be able to sell off properties or make any type of changes to his insurance policies unless previously agreed upon by the court.
The couple had led a very private life for the most part up to this point. Therefore, the news certainly came as a surprise to many. As there was little to no public knowledge about the marriage being on the rocks.
Although Melinda’s camp did mention that the marriage was irretrievably broken the couple did issue a joint statement on social media. In it, they talked about the fact that even though they had worked on the marriage the relationship wasn’t salvageable.
The statement does make it clear that the couple will continue to work together on different projects. Like their flagship charity the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A lot can change though between now and that court date that they have set for next year.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 3, 2021