Texas residents who shop online will likely know that Amazon has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the world's most valuable companies, and they may be aware the online retailer's founder, Jeff Bezos, is now said to have a net worth in excess of $100 billion. These developments prompted legal experts and gossip columnists alike to turn to social media in January when Bezos and his wife of 25 years announced that they were ending their marriage.
The high-asset divorce was widely reported to be the most expensive in history with the potential to make MacKenzie Bezos the world's richest woman. However, any hopes tabloid writers had for a protracted legal battle were dashed in April when Amazon announced that 19.7 million shares, which represents about 4% of its outstanding stock, would be transferred to her after the couple's divorce agreement was approved by a court. The divorce was finalized on July 5.
The deal leaves Jeff Bezos with a 12% stake in the online retailer worth approximately $114.8 billion, and he remains the world's richest individual. MacKenzie receives shares worth more than $38 billion, but she has said that she does not plan to take an active role in the company. According to media reports, she will give her former husband voting control of her stake and donate half of her fortune to Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge campaign.
Family law attorneys with experience in this area could advise high-net-worth individuals to enter into prenuptial agreements before getting married, and they could also suggest that they revisit these documents regularly. This is because agreements that are not basically fair may be difficult to enforce. Judges may also rule a prenuptial agreement invalid if one of the parties was coerced into signing it.