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Will Mackenzie Bezos receive half of her husband’s stock in Amazon?

Recently, Amazon creator Jeff Bezos announced that he and his wife Mackenzie of 25 years.  The divorce is already being labeled as one of the largest in the world because it will involve division of the Bezos over $137 billion in assets.  Further, the divorce is rumored to have occurred, at least in part, due to Jeff Bezos’ affair.  Bezos was photographed weeks before the divorce announcement with another woman.  As the Bezos gear up for a hotly contested and high profile divorce, our Midland, Texas divorce lawyers discuss some of the issues that could arise in the Bezos divorce.

The Bezos Supposedly Did Not Have a Prenup

News outlets are reporting that the Bezos did not have a prenuptial agreement.  The couple wed 25 year ago, around the time that Jeff Bezos created now mega-company Amazon in his garage.  Today, Jeff Bezos still holds 16 percent of Amazon, which is estimated to be worth over $140 billion.  Without a prenup in place, the court will need to closely weigh what portion of the estate should go to Mackenzie Bezos.

Washington is a Community Property State

The couple resided in Washington state during the marriage.  Washington is a community property state, which means that property and debts acquired by a couple during their marriage can be divided according to what is equitable and just.  Equitable does not necessarily equate to equal, and the court will well consider Jeff Bezos level of involvement in the company, as compared to his wife’s.  However, equally considered will be the significant contributions Mackenzie made to the household during the marriage. As a mother to the couple’s four children, Mackenzie Bezos contributions were great and will likely be weighed by the court.

The Affair May Have No Impact on Property Division or Alimony

Washington is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that the faults of either party will generally bear no impact on the outcome of the divorce.  Further, Washington case law has yet to consider adultery as a factor in the award of alimony.  As such, it does not seem that Jeff Bezos affair should legally have an impact on the divorce, but the publicity surrounding it could still have widespread consequences.  As we watch to see what happens in the Bezos divorce, couples across the U.S. can take a lesson from the divorce and consider creating a pre or post-nuptial agreement to prevent divorce disputes later on.