After 27 years of marriage, Melinda and Bill Gates are divorcing, and the divorce is likely to entail difficult decisions about how to divide their money.
According to reports on Tuesday, the pair did not sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married in 1994.
Here are some details about the couple’s fortune and philanthropic efforts.
Bill Gates, 65
According to Forbes, Bill Gates is the world’s fourth-richest male, with a net worth of $130.5 billion.
In 1975, Gates dropped out of Harvard University to co-found technology behemoth Microsoft with schoolmate Paul Allen. At the time of Microsoft’s initial public offering in 1986, Gates owned 49 percent of the company, making him a multimillionaire overnight.
With Microsoft’s rapid growth, he quickly became the world’s richest individual.
He has since lost the designation, in part due to his charitable contributions.
He was also surpassed as a result of growth at other firms. The top three richest people on the Forbes list are Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Louis Vuitton CEO Bernard Arnault and his family.
Melinda Gates, 56
Melinda met Bill in 1987, shortly after he entered Microsoft as a computer science and economics graduate.
According to Forbes, she is the “most influential woman” in philanthropy.
Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company focusing on women, families, and social change, was established in 2015 by the MBA holder.
She also gained the sponsorship of MacKenzie Scott, the author and philanthropist who was married to Jeff Bezos until 2019, for a $40 million gender equity fund, the first awards of which will be made this year.
In 2000, the couple founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. It is one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, focusing on public health and infectious diseases, as well as climate change and education.
During the coronavirus pandemic, it gave $1.75 billion to vaccine programs, diagnostics, and science.
The foundation finished 2019 with net assets of $43.3 billion, according to the most recent full-year financials available on its website.
It spent $5 billion on programs in the United States and around the world that year, excluding administration costs.
According to the foundation’s website, Melinda and Bill Gates gave the foundation more than $36 billion between 1994 and 2018.
According to filings, Warren Buffett has contributed more than $29 billion of his fortune to the Gates Foundation since 2006.
Division of assets
According to the King County Department of Assessments, the couple’s primary residence is a seven-bedroom house on Lake Washington estimated at $130.8 million in 2020.
Lake Washington is located between Seattle and its eastern suburbs, like Redmond, where Microsoft’s headquarters are located.
They also have other properties in California and Florida, as well as a private jet.
The financial terms of the couple’s divorce are unknown.
According to a separation agreement they reached and filed in King County Superior Court, they are seeking division of mutual properties.
Washington, as one of the few US states with so-called “community land” rules, presumes that most property obtained during a marriage belongs collectively to the partners and is shared equally in a divorce.
The partners may also agree that such properties are separate property, which means they are owned by one of them. Inheritances are sometimes included in this grouping.