The world’s wealthiest couple announced in January that they were divorcing, and it wasn’t long before the media spotlight was turned on Amazon founder Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, looking for lascivious details on what caused the high net worth divorce (there were some) and how Bezos’ estimated $150 billion fortune would be split.
By early April, however, the media attention had moved on and the Bezos’ announced a final settlement where MacKenzie received $35 billion (25% of their stake in Amazon), making her the third wealthiest woman in the world. She surrendered her interest in The Washington Post and Blue Origin, Bezos’ rocket company, tweeting that she was “looking forward to our next phase as co-parents and friends.”
With $150 billion at stake, many people expected the divorce to drag on for years. However, despite no prenuptial agreement, the Bezos’ were able to settle fairly quickly. If you are about to become involved in a high net worth divorce action, there are some strategies you can deploy to protect yourself and your children from unnecessary scrutiny and drama:
Protect your privacy.
Take a page out of the Bezos’ divorce book and try to settle out of court. Litigation in an open court becomes a matter of public record, so choosing private mediation or other alternative to a trial will keep the details of your divorce out of the public eye.
Another way to protect your privacy is to file for divorce with “anonymous caption” so all public records relating to your matter are labeled “Anonymous v. Anonymous.” This choice is not automatically available; you will need to show that there is a compelling interest why your names should be omitted.
In addition, you and your spouse can agree to a mutual gag order that prevents either of you from making derogatory comments about each other to the press or on social media.
Choose grounds carefully.
Even if there was infidelity or other bad behavior during the marriage, it is best to file for divorce on the no-fault grounds of “irreconcilable difference,” which keeps thing vague. If you allege fault, it will take more time and money to prove these allegations and doing so will probably not be to anyone’s benefit in the long run. By heightening tensions during a divorce, you make it more difficult to keep your affairs private.
Choose an attorney with experience in high net worth divorces.
Dividing complex assets like a business, a high-value collection, or investment portfolio requires the skills of a family law attorney experienced in the intricacies of asset valuation. Your attorney can also advise you on the best strategies for obtaining a quiet divorce while guiding you through the intricacies of alimony, child custody, and child support.
Protecting your interests and achieving results that support your needs is what you can expect from Murphy & Cistaro. Contact us today for your free consultation.