May 11, 2021

The Bill and Melinda Divorce explained

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So how does the fourth richest man on the planet look at splitting his US$124 billion fortune?

Well it seems that we will never know the details as the couple have entered into a ‘separation contract’ that will set out how they will deal with the financial split following their separation and the details have not been made public. They have made it clear that they will continue to work together to run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which itself had net assets of US$43 billion in 2019.

It is refreshing to see such a high profile couple with such significant assets dealing with the separation in such a constructive and amicable way. It appears that Bill and Melinda each instructed three lawyers to assist them in reaching agreement and drafting the separation contract. This has meant they have avoided the need to deal with the matter in court, as well as lengthy and costly litigation.

They are not the first high profile couple to split and engage in the use of alternative dispute resolution; the singer Adele and Simon Konecki recently finalised their divorce and financial settlement and split of £140 million with the assistance of mediators.

The use of Separation Agreements is fairly common place in England and is of particular assistance where a couple agree to separate and want to deal with the financial aspect prior to getting a divorce. Although Separation Agreements are not 100% binding in English courts they are becoming more and more persuasive and courts are becoming more willing to uphold terms of Separation Agreements where they are entered into properly and with correct legal advice.

Here at RWK Goodman we are committed to assisting couples in reaching agreement constructively and thereby reducing conflict and costs. Jayne Martins, head of the Financial Remedy Team in Bath, is an experienced accredited family mediator and collaborative lawyer. Joanna Toloczko, partner in the London office is also a very experienced accredited family mediator.

So if you are thinking of separating – be like Bill!

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