5 Lessons From the Mackenize and Jeff Bezos Divorce

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After 25 years of marriage, MacKenzie Bezos filed for divorce from husband Jeff Bezos in January 2019. On July 5, 2019, it was announced the pair’s divorce had been finalized. With over $137 billion in assets at stake, including Amazon stock, vast real estate holdings, numerous other investments — and no prenuptial agreement — it’s hard to believe that divorce for the richest couple in the world only took six months. 

Or is it? 

The Mackenzie and Jeff Bezos divorce, despite its intricacies, offers many lessons on how to have a “quick and quiet” split that anyone going through divorce can use. Read on for some key takeaways. 

Even a complex divorce can be settled out of court

MacKenzie and Jeff settled their entire high net worth divorce out of court, which was probably the single smartest choice they made in their divorce matter. They may have used an out-of-court settlement method such as mediation or collaborative divorce, or had their attorneys engage in one-on-one negotiation. Going this route of “alternative dispute resolution” benefited them in many ways: 

  • Settling out of court gave both parties complete control over the outcome of their matter. They had the ability to accept only terms they found mutually acceptable, rather than have terms dictated by a judge.   
  • Mediation, collaborative divorce and other settlement methods are inherently low conflict, helping to defuse tension and disagreement between parties. 
  • Out-of-court methods offer much more privacy. If you read any of the articles about the Bezos divorce closely, you will see that any information about the couple’s divorce comes from their own press releases and Amazon shareholder news. None of the information concerning their divorce comes from court records of the proceedings — because there are none. What happens during mediation and negotiation sessions is completely private and off the record.
  • Low conflict methods are flexible enough to handle assets big and small. Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos were able to make asset division decisions about a very complicated ultra high net worth business relationship without going to court. If that’s not hope that low conflict methods could work to address your asset issues, what is? 

Keep your divorce professional and focused 

It’s no secret that in the days that followed Jeff and MacKenzie’s divorce announcement, tabloid news broke the story of Jeff’s involvement with a new romantic partner. One spouse finding out these kinds of explosive details about the other spouse is often enough to rock emotions — and derail divorce negotiations. However, given the non-stop speed of their divorce, it appears that MacKenzie and Jeff were able to stay focused and professional. 

A tip for the rest of us: the end of any marriage is almost never without emotional fallout. But know that bringing anger, frustration, and jealously into the negotiating room — and making decisions based on purely emotional reasons — is an almost surefire way to bog down the process and not get what you want in the long run. Whether it takes seeing a therapist, buying a punching bag, meditating, or just watching funny movie and having a laugh with a friend, do everything you can to be in a more neutral frame of mind when you sit down at the negotiating table. 

Leave the kids out of it 

Jeff and MacKenize Bezos have four children, at least two of whom are still minors. Not a word has been spoken about their children, and no tabloid photos of MacKenize or Jeff with their kids have surfaced since the divorce announcement. It’s clear from this silence that Jeff and McKenzie are putting their kids first by guarding their privacy during this difficult time.

By choosing a low conflict settlement method, Jeff and MacKenzie needed to come together to agree upon the best custody and parenting time plan for their minor children. The cooperation required to create this plan is a good model for creating a positive co-parenting relationship for years to come.  

Consider how you communicate about your divorce to the outside world 

All we truly know about the Bezos divorce are the carefully worded press statements from the couple and Amazon corporate communications. Take a page from Jeff and MacKenzie and think about what you say — and don’t say — about your divorce. Posting a blow-by-blow of your divorce on Facebook isn’t that helpful, and can even get you in trouble legally. Instead, think about ways you can discreetly share the news of your divorce when you feel settled and ready to move on.

Use divorce as a planning tool for a safeguarded future  

As the Bezos divorce process showed signs of reaching a settlement, MacKenzie announced that she had joined a pledge to donate at least half her post-divorce wealth — currently estimated to be around $37 billion — to charitable causes. MacKenzie’s heart is in the right place, and it’s interesting to see the signs of deep thinking about her financial future that happened smack in the middle of her divorce. By contemplating her personal vision and values, and no doubt such issues as taxes and future earnings, MacKenzie was able to make a shrewd decision about how to use her money wisely and well. 

In your own divorce, do you have a plan for what you will do with money from the sale of the family home or the splitting of your joint stock and investment portfolio? Do you understand the tax implications of alimony? Will you have enough in savings? What kinds of future investments can you make to provide yourself and your kids with peace of mind for years to come? 

Few people have the financial resources of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, but anyone of any means can employ smart tactics for a good divorce. 

Read More: Divorce Checklist For Jeff Bezos & Other High Net Worth Divorces

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