“After much thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we made the decision to end our marriage.” It is with this sentence that Bill and Melinda Gates begin their press release to announce their divorce on Monday after 27 years of union. If the couple wanted to reassure by explaining that they would continue to work together within their foundation, this separation will have other repercussions, in particular on their fortune.
Bill Gates is known to have co-founded Microsoft in 1975. Within this company, he met his future wife in 1987 at a dinner in New York and a few years later, Bill and Melinda got married and had 3 children today. ‘hui aged between 18 and 25 years old. The 65-year-old businessman left the Microsoft presidency in 2014 to devote himself to philanthropy, but remained a regular member of the board until last year. In 2000, the couple created “Bill and Melinda Foundation” which fights against poverty and disease. The foundation has spent more than $ 53 billion in 20 years and employs nearly 1,600 people, according to its official website.
Nothing should change regarding the foundation, but …
According to Forbes, “Bill and Melinda Foundation” is the world’s largest private charitable foundation. Its objective is to fight against poverty, disease and inequalities. Each year, the foundation distributes billions of dollars in direct grants. The foundation is also very involved in the Coronavirus. In May 2020, she said she would commit $ 300 million to fight the pandemic, funding treatment, detection and vaccines. To date, Bill Gates has donated $ 35.8 billion worth of Microsoft shares to his own foundation, and as announced, Bill and Melinda will continue to work together.
But now, the divorce will still raise questions about the fortune of the Gates, part of which has not yet been given to the foundation. “Divorce can have huge repercussions on the foundation and its work around the world”, said Rob Reich, professor of political science at Stanford University in New York Times. Many observers do not know if Bill Gates will continue to fund his foundation as regularly as he has done so far.
Melinda, she should be even more present than before, says the New York Times. The 56-year-old already owns her own Pivotal Ventures company, and even if she received part of her husband’s assets, she could start a new foundation or make direct donations to other causes she supports. “You could imagine that Melinda Gates would be a much more progressive donor on her own,” philanthropy specialist David Callahan said. “She is going to be a major force in philanthropy for decades to come.”
Other questions arise, including inevitably that of divorce itself. Will it be amicable? According to the site TMZ who obtained the divorce document, yes! Despite relationship difficulties in recent years, the couple have tried to preserve each other. This time around, the couple signed a separation contract, at the request of Melinda Gates. She would have filed the file on the grounds that the marriage is “irreparably broken”. Melinda does not ask for alimony from her husband, who has filed a petition, meaning that he supports the dissolution of the marriage. Finally, they are asking for a trial date for April 2022, but it is almost certain that the divorce proceedings should not go that far.
How will the fortune be divided?
Still according to the magazine Forbes, no one yet really knows how the property will be divided, but one thing is certain: two years after the divorce of Jeff Bezos (the richest personality in the world) and his wife at the time, MacKenzie, this one will also be there. one of the most important in history. Bill Gates is the fourth wealthiest in the world with a wealth of around $ 124 billion. But for the US site, the Gates family resides in Washington state, and Washington is a community property state. Concretely, this means that all property acquired by Bill or Melinda during the marriage is considered as common and generally divided equally during the divorce in the absence of a marriage contract. However, it is necessary to qualify: in Washington, the parties can find an agreement to divide their property in a way that suits everyone.
If Bill and Melinda Gates strike a deal similar to that between Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife, to whom he had given an Amazon stake worth around $ 36 billion at the time, Melinda could become the one of the richest women in the world.