On Monday, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, announced that they decided to end their 27-year marriage. According to released court documents, Melinda Gates was the one to file for divorce. Additionally, the billionaire couple did not have a prenuptial agreement.
Per TMZ’s reporting, 56-year-old Melinda filed for divorce because the marriage was “irretrievably broken.” The divorce petition, which was filed on Monday in King County Superior Court in Seattle, Wash., reveals that the philanthropist pair has a separation agreement, but no prenuptial agreement.
The separation agreement details the divorce terms. Once finalized, Bill and Melinda Gate will sign the agreement. The agreement will also detail how the couple will divide their assets. However, that contract wasn’t included in the original filing. The Gates fortune is over $100 billion.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” read the statement. They spent 34-years together as a couple and are also parents to three adult children. They met in 1987 after Melinda began working at Microsoft as a product manager. Their joint statement said they would continue to work together on the philanthropic venture they launched in 2000.
“Bill and Melinda will remain co-chairs and trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” the organization said in a statement. Additionally, it read, “No changes to their roles or the organization are planned. They will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation’s issues, and set the organization’s overall direction.”
Lawyer Details How Bill and Melinda Gates Divorce Might Play Out
Following the announcement, many are speculating how the divorce will play out. Family lawyer Randy Kessler, who’s also represented athletes and entertainers, has predicted how the courts plan to separate their $130 billion in net worth.
“My guess is they’re going to work this out very privately, and that they will both be very comfortable with the way it turns out,” Kessler said. “I cannot imagine that she won’t be happy or he won’t be happy, financially.”
“If it was about the money,” Kessler said, “they’d stay married. People that have extraordinary wealth, have it for a reason,” Kessler added. “They know what not to waste money on, and what not to be in the press about. Divorce is not something to waste money on.”