A family court judge added a signature to a decree on a recent Monday. The decree signified the finalization of the Bill Gates versus Melinda Gates divorce. The former couple had been married approximately 27 years when, in the spring of this year, Melinda Gates filed a petition to move on in life without the man with whom she has raised three children for the past 24 of those years. Many Texas spouses may be following this case.
There is no child support or child custody agreement
Because the Gates children are ages 24, 22 and soon to be 19, the topics of child support and custody were not relevant to the recent divorce proceedings. When a couple with children under age 18 divorce, child support and custody issues are typically a primary focus. When children are of legal adult ages, it is estate planning issues, such as trusts, that may be a central focus in a high-asset divorce.
Bill and Melinda Gates did not have a prenuptial agreement
Another unique aspect of the Gates versus Gates divorce is that the couple never signed a prenuptial contract before they were married in Hawaii in 1994. Having a prenup in place is common among couples where one or both people have a high net worth before their wedding day. In the Gates case, it appears both parties have agreed to adhere to terms set forth in a separation agreement.
Melinda Gates is now independently a billionairess
Melinda Gates has requested privacy as she and her family adapt to a post-divorce lifestyle. Exact details about the financial arrangements of her settlement have not been published. However, information that has been made public regarding millions of shares in various investments that she acquired during property division proceedings has brought her financial status to that of a multi-billionairess. Not every Texas divorce involves billions of dollars; however, many spouses do have concerns about high-net-worth assets, in which case it is helpful to consult with an experienced family law attorney before heading to court.