Analysis: The settlement between the world's richest man and his wife will be decided using the "community property" to divorce law in the U.S.
Jeff Bezos and his wife
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced this week that he and his wife MacKenzie are seeking a divorce. The two were married in 1993 and have four children. Bezos founded the company in 1994, just after his marriage.
Bezos is considered to be the world's richest man, with an estimated worth of $112 billion. He also reportedly did not have a prenuptial agreement with MacKenzie. That means, following his divorce, his wife could become one of the world’s richest women.
There are two main approaches to dividing up marital property in the United States: “equitable division” and “community property.”
Most states utilize the common law, “equitable distribution” approach, where the default position is that each spouse holds their property during the marriage separately.
In New York, for example, when both spouses equally contribute to a long marriage, the courts attempt to divide property equally. However, equitable distribution does not necessarily mean equal distribution. Equitable distribution views marriage as an economic partnership to which both parties contribute as spouse, parent, wage earner or homemaker.
The distribution of assets depends not just on the financial contribution of each spouse, but also on a wide range of unpaid services to the partnership, such as homemaking, raising children and providing the emotional support to sustain the other spouse at work.
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