04 May, 2021
The breaking news today is that Bill and Melinda Gates are set to divorce. After 27 years of marriage and three children it has been revealed that the couple's marriage has irretrievably broken down and they "no longer feel able to grow as a couple". Interestingly the couple did not sign a pre-marital agreement, even though at the time they got married Bill was already a billionaire. With a fortune now of $130 billion the couple have numerous properties, a significant art collection and many other assets. It has been reported that the couple have signed a "separation agreement" which has not been disclosed, but which details how their assets will be divided.
Not many have the fortune of the Gates', however it is not uncommon for couples to divorce at this stage of life; having raised children and nearing retirement. Similarly, not many couples who have been married for such a long time have pre-marital agreements. In some ways divorces where the assets are significant can be more straightforward as generally the couple accept that all assets are to be divided equally. It is then a question of resolving how the assets can be shared. Where the assets are more modest the question arises as to how the assets can be best divided to meet the needs of the parties. It is not known whether further information will be disclosed regarding the Gates' settlement, although they have both committed to continuing the charitable foundation which they have donated more than $36 billion to over the years. Watch this space!
For more information contact Sarah Robson in our Family/Divorce department via email or phone on 0333 207 1130. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.