BROOKLYN, New York. Jeff Bezos recently announced that he and his wife of 25 years will be getting divorced. Unlike a divorce where two people earn regular salaries, have some assets, and debts, divorces among the extraordinarily wealthy, who often own major stakes in their own companies, can be highly complex. According to the Atlantic, the wealthiest Americans tend to keep the majority of their wealth in stocks or in their stakes in their own businesses, which can create added complexity when the time comes to get divorced. These couples may also have other non-liquid assets, like vacation homes, antiques, collectibles, and cars, which may also have to be considered during a divorce. In many cases, it isn’t feasible to sell everything and split the proceeds, so couples have to determine how to best split their wealth.
How the ultra-wealthy divorce depends largely on the state in which the couple resides. In the case of the Bezos’s divorce, the Atlantic reports that because the couple lives in Washington state, everything they own related to Amazon could be considered community property and subject to a 50/50 division. It isn’t clear how the couple will negotiate splitting their stakes in the company. They could divide the stock among themselves, or they could continue to hold onto the assets together in a partnership.
However, if a wealthy couple lives in New York, the couple’s assets would be subject to New York’s equitable distribution law. Under New York laws, the couple’s assets aren’t always split down the middle. Instead, a judge will hear many factors relating to the length of the marriage, the contributions of each partner, and any other relevant information. If you are wealthy and are thinking of getting divorced in Brooklyn, New York, you may want to speak to a qualified divorce lawyer like the Elliot Green Law Offices to understand your rights and get a better idea of what to expect.
When dividing your assets following a divorce, you’ll need to separate marital property from separate property. According to the New York City Bar, marital property is anything acquired during the marriage. Separate property is anything purchased or acquired by the individuals prior to the marriage. However, separate property can sometimes be considered marital property in cases where assets have appreciated, where individual bank accounts were comingled, or in situations where one partner contributed to maintaining property or assets. This area of divorce law can get complex, so couples are wise to hire a family lawyer like the Elliot Green Law Offices in Brooklyn, New York to sort out what is considered martial property and what might be considered shared property.
If you and your ex own a company together, have amassed wealth, or if your stocks are of significant value, the best way to approach your divorce is from the perspective of a business arrangement. This means separating the emotional side of your marriage ending from the financial side—something which can be very hard to do.
If you are considering getting divorced and have some wealth, it is important to take steps to protect your financial well-being and future. Visit the Elliot Green Law Offices, a divorce lawyer in Brooklyn, New York, who can help you today.
Elliot Green Law Offices
32 Court Street, Suite 404
Brooklyn, NY 11201