Nobody ever wishes for this day to come, but for about 40 percent to 50 percent of married couples in the United States, divorce is bound to happen, according to the American Psychological Association.

Now headed for splitsville is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos. Here's the surprising announcement dropped via a tweet earlier today, which was signed by both parties.

The news comes three days shy of Bezos' 55th birthday. Now, I know plenty of people who've divorced, but typically it happens within the first ten years of marriage (including yours truly, whose first train wreck lasted a mere 18 months).

But 25 years is a long time for a billionaire couple to just call it off. I say this because, in higher-income and well-educated couples, spouses typically work through their issues, for better, for worse. But even worse has its limits.

According to a study published in the American Law and Economics Review, wives file slightly more than two-thirds of divorce cases in the U.S. That study also found that "divorced women in large numbers reveal that they are happier than they were while married." The Bezos family's situation seems very unique.

"We've had such a great life together as a married couple, and we also see wonderful futures ahead, as parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects, and as individuals pursuing ventures and adventures," the tweet declared.

On a positive note, that part of the tweet suggests that the couple will remain active in Bezos' launch of the $2 billion "Day One Fund" to help homeless families and create a network of preschools in low-income communities.

But wonderful futures together as "friends"? Call me a pessimist. Every couple that I have observed post-divorce (including my own) eventually go their separate ways, become distant and emotionally-disconnected as they date and seek new partners, and only see each other (reluctantly) to abide by what the court has decided on children's custody rights.

The billions: who gets what?

You know it's crossed your mind, right? It has mine. People are playing the guessing game as to how much of Bezo's wealth MacKenzie will walk away with after the divorce is settled. You have to remember, she married Bezos a year after Amazon was founded (are your eyes getting big yet?)

If you guessed anywhere near $68 billion, you may be dead on. Washington State, where the Bezos family resides, is a community property state, which means that every penny made during those 25 years could be split equally between Jeff and MacKenzie.

That means MacKenzie may be entitled to half of Bezos' entire Amazon fortune -- $137 billion at last count.

Put this into perspective: If MacKenzie Bezos gets half of her husband's riches, it would make her the fifth-richest person in the world. Even if she gets, say, only a 1 percent payout, it would still mean she would receive one of the largest divorce settlements in history!

Maybe divorce isn't so bad after all ... if you're a billionaire.

Published on: Jan 9, 2019
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