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What Can High-Asset Couples Learn From the Bill and Melinda Gates Divorce?

Posted on in Illinois Divorce

kane county divorce lawyerEarlier this week, Bill and Melinda Gates, widely known for their work at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, announced that they were ending their marriage. This marks the second divorce of one of the world’s most wealthy individuals in recent years after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott ended their marriage in 2019. Very few divorces will match the Gates divorce in terms of the assets to be addressed, but other high-asset couples considering divorce may be able to learn something from the Gates’s situation.

Preparing for a High-Asset Divorce in Illinois

Though the Gates divorce is being resolved in the State of Washington, some of the issues at hand offer possible lessons for divorcing couples with significant assets in Illinois. For example:

  • Property division can be resolved through an agreement between spouses. When filing for divorce, the Gateses noted that they have reached a separation agreement regarding their property and assets. In a high-asset divorce in Illinois, it may be possible to reach a similar resolution with your spouse, rather than leaving the division of assets in the hands of the court. However, it is usually a good idea to consult with financial experts who can help you understand the full implications of your decisions.

  • Spousal support may or may not be a factor. Melinda Gates has said that she will not pursue spousal maintenance in the divorce, but it could be an option in an Illinois high-asset divorce, particularly if most of the assets and income come from one spouse. You may be able to negotiate for spousal support or make the case in court that you need it in order to support yourself and maintain your accustomed standard of living.

  • Divorced spouses can remain business partners. The Gateses have stated that despite the end of their marriage, they will continue to work together as co-chairs of their philanthropic foundation. If you and your spouse are on good terms and you have worked together throughout your marriage, you may be able to remain business or professional partners after your divorce, but it is important that you have a clearly defined business agreement in place in order to do so. 

  • Divorce can happen to anyone. Bill and Melinda Gates appeared to many to be a happy, successful couple with an ideal lifestyle. Their divorce serves as a reminder that any marriage can break down, and that despite the legal complications of dissolving a marriage, it may be the best decision for both spouses.

Contact a Kane County High-Asset Divorce Attorney

If you and your spouse have a high net worth and you are concerned about how a divorce will affect your assets, the attorneys at Weiler & Lengle P.C. can help. We will review all aspects of your divorce case and advise you on the best course of action regarding your property, your children, and any other issues that must be resolved. Contact our St. Charles divorce attorneys today for a consultation by calling 630-382-8050.

Sources:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/03/tech/bill-and-melinda-gates-divorce/index.html

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/bill-melinda-gates-divorce-petition-121605953.html

https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/bill-and-melinda-gates-divorce-document

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