Bill Gates and Melinda Gates, the billionaire philanthropist couple apparently did not have a prenuptial agreement, court documents reveal. The document, filed on Monday in King County Superior Court in Seattle, Washington., notes that the pair has a "separation agreement," but not a prenup.
The revelation comes hours after Melinda Gates, 56, filed for divorce from Bill Gates, 64, ending their 27-year-long marriage. The couple announced their split via Twitter on Monday. Bill is the fourth richest man in the world with a fortune of about $130billion. However, without a prenuptial agreement, it might become difficult dividing their wealth.
A Bit Complicated
According to a report in the DailyMail.com, court documents reveal that the power couple doesn't have a prenuptial agreement to help them navigate dividing their massive wealth. Bill and Melinda Gates together own a huge fortune including properties in five states, a private jet, an astonishing art collection and a fleet of luxury cars.
Although the couple has a separation agreement signed, without a prenup, dividing the massive wealth might get difficult. A separation agreement is usually signed at the end of a marriage and lays out the terms of the split.
That separation contract hasn't been included in the divorce filing. But now without a prenup, the separation agreement is likely to dictate how the couple will divide their assets. The documents, which were filed by Melinda, came to light after the couple's eldest daughter Jennifer Gates revealed their family has been going through a "challenging stretch of time."
The divorce comes as a big surprise to many given that the couple had made their last public appearance less than two weeks back, virtually, at a COVID event for healthcare workers.
The Massive Fortune
The Gates fortune is estimated at well over $100 billion, so it's perhaps not surprising that Melinda is not requesting spousal support, according to the filing. Melinda has requested a trial date in April 2022 but it is also likely that the divorce will be settled without a trial.
The couple is splitting up after 24 years of marriage and 34 years as a couple. They have three adult children: Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 19.
That said, the couple would continue to work together on their renowned charitable organization that was launched in 2000. "Bill and Melinda will remain co-chairs and trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation," the organization said in a statement.
The reason behind their split after over a quarter-century remains a mystery but Melinda has previously suggested that Bill had trouble balancing work and family. The pair met after Melinda began working at Microsoft as a product manager in 1987. They struck a chord after Melinda was seated next to Bill at a business dinner.
According to Melinda, they "talked over dinner that evening" and she could "sense he was interested", and a few days later when they bumped into each other in the company parking lot, he asked her out - although his initial offer wasn't up to her standards.
After a year of dating, Bill made a list of the pros and cons of getting married. Bill, however, was already a millionaire by the time he married Melinda. Bill became the youngest millionaire in the world in 1987. The couple dated for seven years and finally got married in 1994 in a lavish ceremony.
The big question now is how they split their massive wealth including their homes. Prime among the couple's properties is their main family home, known as Xanadu 2.0.
What's at Stake?
Bill purchased the lot in 1988 for $2million, but spent seven years and pumped in $63million to turn it into his dream home. It is now estimated to be worth $125 million.
Bill and Melinda also own the Irma Lake Lodge, a $9 million, 492-acre Wyoming ranch Buffalo Bill named after his oldest daughter back when he settled the place in 1992. He later bought the property in 2009.
Besides, the couple also owns a $59 million ranch in Wellington, Florida, an area known for its equestrianism, which will appeal to his eldest daughter Jennifer, a talented horsewoman. Bill also another property in California near San Diego, which is worth $43 million, which was bought in 2020.
That's just the real estate part. Bill, over the years, has also built an impressive agriculture portfolio that includes 69,071 acres in Louisiana, 47,927 acres in Arkansas, 25,750 acres in Arizona, 20,588 acres in Nebraska and 16,097 in Washington state.
Bill is also known to be a car lover and has fleet of 30 vehicles. He owns a Porsche 930 Turbo, a Jaguar XJ6 and a Ferrari 348 among other. His first love, a Porsche 911 supercar, which he bought after founding Microsoft, is no longer with him after he sold it off.
Him most recent purchase, reportedly, is a Porsche Taycan â an electric car â which he bought in February 2020.