How MacKenzie Scott Became the Richest Woman in the World by Divorcing Jeff Bezos
The headlines are outrageous and filled with scandal. A woman has become incredibly wealthy simply by getting divorced. If one were to read the headlines, they may get the impression that this woman has somehow fallen into luck and capitalized on her husband’s success. So, just how exactly did MacKenzie Scott manage to receive such a significant financial windfall in her divorce, and what lessons should every divorcing woman and man learn from this story?
The Real Scoop
Most news stories focus on the $68 Billion fortune that she now possesses, but long before there was a fortune, and long before the divorce, there was a marriage. Consider this: Ms. Scott was born on April 7, 1970, making her 50 years old. Scott is by no means a slacker. She is quite accomplished in her own right. A Princeton University graduate, she became a published author and received an American Book Award in 2006. Scott married Jeff Bezos in 1993, when she was just 23 years old. By the time of the couple’s 2019 divorce, they had been married about 26 years – basically her entire adult life since college.
The Couple’s Income and Assets at the Time of Marriage
So, considering that Scott spent 26 years married to Bezos, it becomes a little clearer why the divorce resulted in a large property division, but it also raises another question. How much money did the couple have at the time of their marriage in 1993? To put things in perspective, Bezos was working at various jobs on Wall Street at the time. A fellow Princeton University graduate, he met Scott while she was working as a research associate for a Manhattan investment firm in 1992. The couple decided to move across the country to Washington State, and Bezos founded Amazon in 1994. So, from the very beginning of Bezos’ American success story, Scott was by his side, working and contributing as a spouse. Indeed, this is not the story of a late life marriage, where a woman comes into the relationship and steals away a fortune. No, rather, Scott and Bezos were a young, hard-working, and entrepreneurial couple who worked together over decades of marriage.
In a divorce, courts consider a lot of factors when deciding how to apportion assets, earnings, and business profits. Perhaps the most critical issue is the length of the marriage. A court seeks to make equitable decisions. Where a couple meets early in life, and they raise a family, build a company, and one spouse ascends to wealth and success in that business, there is generally another, equally hard-working spouse just behind them and out of the spotlight. Often the woman in a marriage, one spouse will put aside career ambitions and put aside other opportunities in order to promote and facilitate the successful partner’s career.In many cases, this allows the high-income earning partner to earn incredible wealth. After spending one’s entire adult life in such a marriage, if a court were to simply force that spouse to start over from scratch, it would be a terrible injustice. So, when seeking divorce in Florida, always consult an experienced divorce attorney early in the process, and never waive your rights without discussing it with a trained professional. At the Sejour-Gustave Law Firm, PLLC, we have years of experience helping everyday Floridians from those of modest income to those with significant wealth. Call or find us online to discuss your divorce today.