Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they are divorcing after 27 years of marriage. The couple never signed a prenup, which raises questions about how their massive $145 billion fortune will be split.
According to their divorce filing documents shared by TMZ, Bill and Melinda have a separation contract rather than a prenuptial agreement.
The couple agreed to split their property and homes as stated in the separation contract. Melinda Gates filed for divorce citing that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Melinda did not request spousal support or a name change at the filing. She also declined the option for a protection order or restraining order, which implies the divorce was amicable.
A prenuptial agreement or prenup is a legal document a couple signed before marriage. The legally binding agreement list all the assets and/or debt each person owns and how they will split their assets in the event of a divorce.
A separation contract is a legal document for couples that want to live apart without filing for divorce. It details how a couple will split their assets and other previously shared responsibilities while separated.
It is unclear how the couple agreed to split their assets; therefore, their individual net worth post-divorce is currently unknown.
Bill and Melinda are one of the wealthiest couples in the world. The majority of their wealth comes from Bill Gates’s career as the co-founder of Microsoft and his investments from wealth earned from his roles in the technology company.
Bill and Melinda Gates will continue working together
Bill and Melinda released a statement announcing their divorce on social media.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have decided to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” they said in the shared statement referring to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” the statement concluded.
Bill married Melinda French in 1994 and the couple share three children Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest private charities in the world. It currently has an endowment of over 40 billion and the couple has received mostly praise for their charitable work tackling poverty, disease, and education.
However, their work has not been without criticism with detractors questioning its effectiveness and spending priorities. Bill Gates has also been targeted by conspiracy theorists due to his foundation’s work on vaccine rollouts.