Bill and Melinda Gates to Divorce
Three months after they first announced their split following 27 years of marriage, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates are officially divorced.
The ex-couple’s dissolution was finalized by a judge Monday in King County, Washington, according to court records. TMZ earlier reported that neither party will receive spousal support and that all property is divided pursuant to a separation agreement.
Washington laws stipulate a 90-day waiting period between when a divorce is filed and finalized.
Since the split was revealed on social media, there’s been intense focus on the future of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Warren Buffett, the only other trustee aside from the pair, stepped down, while the foundation announced it would add more members to the board. French Gates, 56, meanwhile, might exit her role in two years if she and Gates cannot work together.
The couple also committed an extra US$15 billion to the organization. That money will go to the foundation’s endowment, which stood at roughly US$50 billion before the announcement and has given away about as much over the past two decades.
Since the separation, more than US$3 billion worth of shares held by Gates’s Cascade Investment has been transferred to French Gates’s name. That’s a fraction of their US$146 billion fortune at the time of the announcement, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Washington is a community property state, which means anything accumulated during marriage is considered both partners’ equally. Gates and French Gates, and their respective teams of lawyers, drew up the separation contract, which the court has granted, and will likely stay private.
Bill Gates, 65, is now worth more than US$150 billion, according to the index.