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Over the last couple of weeks, it is been widely reported in entertainment and financial media news sources that the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, who is the world’s richest person with a fortune valued at USD $137 billion, and his wife, Mackenzie Bezos, finalised their divorce, separating after 25 years of marriage.
It is important to remember when reading articles about the former Mr and Mrs Bezos’ separation that they are from the United States of America, and the law relating to divorce is quite different to “divorce” law in Australia (formally called family law). Indeed, in the USA, divorce law is state based, where Australian family law is Commonwealth law and applies to the whole country, except for Western Australia.
The divorce of Mr and Mrs Bezos was pursuant to the laws of the state of Washington, USA. The law states, in simple terms, that unless the parties have a prenuptial agreement (the equivalent of a financial agreement in Australia), the total value of all their net assets made through the marriage is split 50-50 upon divorce. Therefore, regardless of what Mrs Bezos held or what she contributed to Amazon and Mr Bezos’ wealth, she would be entitled to 50% of the total value of everything they had together, unless a court determines otherwise based on particular circumstance of the case.
This is very different to what occurs under Australian family law, for the following reasons:
Notwithstanding these differences, there are 3 key things that couples going through a separation in Australia can take away from Mr and Mrs Bezos’ divorce. They are:
The cynic might say this a media stunt. However, to finalise a property settlement so quickly requires both people having a mutual respect for one another, listening to one another, compromise, and keeping the big picture in mind. These are important things for all separating couples to remember when finalising their property settlement. Separation is often the most difficult thing people encounter, but by having the right attitude, you afford yourself immense emotional and financial benefits.
If you need assistance in negotiating and finalising your property division with your former spouse or partner, contact Armstrong Legal for specialist advice on 1300 168 676.
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Contact Armstrong Legal:
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