Cartoon by Jim Meadows (jimtoon.com)
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his novelist wife, MacKenzie Bezos announced on Twitter recently that they are getting divorced after four children and 25 years of marriage.
According to Forbes, which publishes an annual list of billionaires, Bezos' net worth is estimated at $140 billion and he is the richest man in the world. The money is largely tied up Amazon stock, and, as company founder, chairman, chief executive and largest shareholder, Mr. Bezos exerts almost complete control over Amazon.
A recent New York Times story describes MacKenzie Bezos as a significant player in Amazon's origin story, driving to Seattle in 1994 while Mr. Bezos sat in the passenger seat, working on the embryonic company’s business plan. She was Amazon’s first accountant and was involved in its transformation from a small online bookseller to the e-commerce behemoth it is today, the second company in American history to be valued at over a trillion dollars.
Divorces are governed by state law, and the Bezoses’ primary residence and business are in Washington. Washington is what is known as a community property state, meaning any income earned or wealth created during the marriage by either party will be divided equitably between spouses.
If they were to split assets equally, Mr. Bezos could find the 16.1 percent of Amazon stock he owns halved. Will there be any impact on their future plans in neighboring Long Island City? We will see how their split plays out.