Melinda Gates's Divorce Settlement May Leave Her with $60+ Billion

Annie Goldsmith
·2 min read
Photo credit: Jamie McCarthy - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jamie McCarthy - Getty Images

Yesterday, Bill and Melinda Gates announced their decision to divorce after 27 years of marriage. While the divorce will greatly impact the couple's personal and familial lives, many are questioning the fate of the Gates fortune. Bill Gates is the world's fourth richest person, having amassed, according to Forbes, $124 billion. The pair has funneled much of their wealth into the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest private charitable foundation, with an estimated $51 billion in assets, according to CNBC. However, the ensuing divorce may shift these numbers and forever alter the couple's net worths.

As for Melinda Gates's wealth, the philanthropist and former Microsoft general manager's assets are currently intertwined with her husband's. However, according to Forbes, if the pair split their fortune equally, Melinda would be worth $65.25 billion.

It is currently unclear, though, how the couple is going to divide their wealth. Bill and Melinda "asked the court to divide their assets based on the terms of the separation contract, but details of the contract weren’t disclosed," Forbes notes. "The filing does not mention a prenup, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have one, since they aren’t obligated to disclose everything on the filing."

Both Washington state, where Microsoft is based, and California, where the couple have a home, are community property states. This means that all the money made during a marriage is considered shared and often divided evenly in the case of divorce. However, in Washington, as Forbes states, "the parties can agree to divide their assets in a way that is 'just and equitable,' which can result in settlements that aren’t necessarily 50/50."

Regardless of the exact breakdown, the Gates divorce is shaping up to be one of the most impactful billionaire separations in history. Melinda Gates could receive more than MacKenzie Scott, Jeff Bezos' ex-wife, who received approximately $35 billion at the time of her divorce. The Gates' will also need to sort out the fate of their $166 million real estate portfolio, $130 million art collection, and multi-billion dollar stock holdings, according to CNBC.

The couple did, however, confirm that they will remain co-chairs of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which works to provide equitable, global public health access and aid. See the couple's full divorce statement below.

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