Sometimes power couples pull the plug.
But that’s often where the damage control begins.
‘Conscious uncoupling’. We first heard the new-age gem when Gwyneth Paltrow tried to ‘reinvent’ divorce, ‘consciously uncoupling’ with her now ex-husband, Chris Martin, in 2014.
What Gwyneth must have known is that there’s nothing easy, or unconscious, about divorce; especially with valuable assets, and shared businesses, to divide.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, estimated to be in possession of $137 billion dollars. With high-stakes divorce cases, like Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos’, the personal often turns political, and the Bezos divorce has even given rise to allegations of extortion and blackmail by a Trump-associated company.
According to Jeff Bezos, in his public Instagram statement:
“If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again…Though the labels might be different, we remain a family, and…cherished friends.”
Mackenzie Bezos had a vital role in Amazon’s establishment, as Jeff’s partner of 25 years, and according to Washington state law, she could be entitled to half of his assets. This asset division would require Bezos to sell a quantity of Amazon stock; weakening company control, and altering Amazon’s image with the founding face’s dwindling influence. Quite a costly ‘uncoupling’, one might say.
How much of my assets can my partner claim in the event of divorce?
According to California law, assets and debts that spouses acquire during marriage belong equally to both of them, and they must decide unanimously, between the themselves, or else they will have to go to court and request a decision from an arbitrator or judge.
Either way, the couple must determine:
- Whether the property (or debt) is marital or separate
- An agreed value for marital property
- How the property is to be divided
Can I keep the assets I had before marriage?
A spouse is able to maintain separate possession of property owned, by themselves, prior to marriage, or that what is given as a gift, or inherited, during the marriage. ‘Separate property’ also includes items purchased with or exchanged for separate property, profits of separate property, and the value increase of separate property. This is conditional to the property owner’s ability to provide proof of their claim with financial records or other documents.
How is the value of property determined?
- The parties themselves (or the court in the case of disagreement) allocate monetary value
- Appraisals can assist with the process of property value determination
- Financial professionals such as actuaries and C.P.A’s can assist with the valuation of retirement assets
When it comes to your assets and finances, against the ‘slings and arrows’ of divorce proceedings, be proactive. Don’t leave it up to fate. Look at the services on offer at www.vincentmillerlaw.com.