Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
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How will property division affect the asset holdings of Bezos?

When well-known, high net worth couples announce their intention to file for a divorce, the first thing people in Illinois and elsewhere might wonder is whether the couple has a prenuptial agreement in place. This is the question asked after reports appeared of the imminent divorce of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos. How will property division affect the personal assets and the company that Bezos started from his garage back in the 90s?

Although Bezos already had a successful career when the couple married in 1993, without knowing then that Amazon would become a trillion-dollar concern, would they have signed a prenuptial contract? Although more couples sign prenups now, at that time, it was something mostly done by couples of which one spouse was already wealthy before the marriage. It is for that reason that the law allows couples to sign postnuptial agreements.

In the case of the Bezos divorce, they reside in Washington state, which is a community property state. This concept of the law presumes almost all assets acquired by the spouses during their years of marriage as jointly owned property and to be split equally in the event of a divorce. However, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can prevent a 50/50 split of assets.

Illinois is an equitable distribution state that rules that spouses must handle property division in a way that is fair, which does not necessarily mean 50/50. Most couples recognize the value of prenuptial agreements -- not only to avoid contention in the event of a divorce but also to provide peace of mind for each spouse in knowing that his or her assets are protected, even if one of them should die. An experienced family law attorney can explain the pros and cons of signing a prenuptial agreement.

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Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
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Belleville, IL 62220

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