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What happens when wealthy couples divorce

Wealthy couples who are getting a divorce may learn from the example of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife. Like Texas, Washington is a community property state, and this means that since Bezos started the company after the two were married, he and his wife may split Amazon stock 50/50. However, this would change if they made an agreement at some point in their marriage about how to split property in a divorce.

The couple released a statement indicating that they plan to cooperate during the divorce. According to some attorneys, couples in a high-asset divorce are not more likely to have a lot of conflict in a divorce than couples with fewer assets. However, an issue that may arise in a high-asset divorce is the hiding of assets by one party. Another typical feature of a high-asset divorce is that the higher-earning party is not required to pay alimony to the dependent spouse because the settlement for the dependent spouse is so large.

While most people who get divorced have assets such as homes and retirement accounts to divide, very wealthy people often have their wealth in stock. Assessing the value of this stock can be complex. There may be other assets, such as valuable collections, for which the appraisal process is even more complicated.

During negotiations over property division, high-asset couples should keep in mind that they do not have to divide everything 50/50 just because Texas is a community property state. In some cases, it may be easier, less costly and more appropriate if each person keeps certain assets. For example, there may be a business primarily run by one person and an art collection that was primarily created by the other person. However, it is important to accurately appraise these items including costs associated with them.

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