In May of 2021, it was reported that Bill and Melinda Gates had filed for divorce. Citing irreconcilable differences, the high-tech power couple are set to embark on what may be the most expensive divorce in world history. The pair have been together for many years, and it is clear that each has played a central role in the other’s various exploits. Among other things, she co-founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

27 years is a long time, and it seems clear that Melinda is entitled to a significant payout. In fact, many experts believe that this could be the biggest divorce settlement in recorded history. Remember, Bill Gates has a net worth of over $130 billion. At the end of 2019, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation had assets of over $43 billion. So, how much will Melinda receive?

They Have a Separation Contract

Bill and Melinda Gates have a separation contract, and they asked the court to follow this contract when dividing their property. However, this contract was never made public, and the couple are asking for privacy in the coming days. It is unclear how their communal property will be divided, although one would assume that they would continue to have equal control over the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as co-founders. Melinda Gates also founded an investment company called Pivotal Ventures. All of these assets, business interests, and communal property will be divided according to their separation agreement. 

They Filed in Washington

Bill and Melinda filed for divorce in Washington, which is a community property state. This means that all assets acquired during the marriage are split 50/50. Of course, Bill Gates established Microsoft all the way back in 1975 – long before he was married to Melinda. It is unclear how this will work in regards to their divorce, but Microsoft has earned significant profits after the couple’s marriage in 1994. Everything else may also be divided 50/50, including their real estate properties. On the other hand, courts in Washington honor the wishes of the spouses laid out in their separation contract. This means that the assets may be split in a completely different way, according to Bill and Melinda’s agreement. 

How Does this Divorce Stack Up Against Other High-Profile Couples?

The most expensive divorce on record so far is that of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos. MacKenzie received $38 billion in 2019. This is far more expensive than the next divorce on the list, which is Alec Wildenstein’s 1999 divorce from Jocelyn Wildenstein. Jocelyn received $3.8 billion. We can probably assume that Melinda will receive roughly half of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is valued at around $43 billion. She will also likely receive a significant portion of Bill’s $130-billion fortune. With all this in mind, even the most conservative estimates would likely make this the largest divorce payout in history, and it could blow MacKenzie Bezos’ settlement out of the water.