Bill and Melinda Gates Never Signed a Prenup. Here’s How They’ll Divide Their Assets Instead.

The philanthropic couple announced their divorce on Monday, following 27 years of marriage.

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4, 2021

3 min read

Amid news of Bill and Melinda Gates‘ pending divorce, TMZ recently revealed that the philanthropic couple never signed a prenuptial agreement. 

The tabloid obtained a copy of the couple’s divorce filings, which show that the pair instead signed a separation contract that they told the court to enforce.

While a prenuptial agreement is created before the parties get married and identifies what each party will retain should a divorce occur, a separation contract is a “postnuptial agreement” that is signed when the two parties are considering a divorce but are legally married. Though a separation contract can dictate the division of property and address spousal support, it cannot include any provisions related to child support and custody, according to the Twiford Law Firm

Related: Bill and Melinda Gates Are Divorcing After More Than 25 Years of Marriage

According to the aforementioned divorce filings, the couple has agreed to divide real estate property, personal property, debts and liabilities as “set forth in our separation contract.” Spousal support “is not needed,” the couple further added. 

“This marriage is irretrievably broken,” Melinda wrote in her request for a divorce. “We ask the court to dissolve our marriage and find that our marital community ended on the date stated in our separation contract.”

The couple announced their divorce in a statement on Monday. 

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the two said in a joint statement. “Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives. We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”

The couple first met in 1987 at a work event in New York. They married seven years later on New Year’s Day in Hawaii. They have three children together: Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe. 

A court is expected to review the Gates’ divorce filings in September. 

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