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Options to split business assets in a high asset divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2019 | Property Division |

The vast majority of people in Illinois and across the country are likely familiar with the company Amazon. Though CEO and founder Jeff Bezos is in the news relatively frequently, the announcement of his impending divorce to wife of 25 years MacKenzie has several people wondering how such an asset — a 16.3 percent stake in a successful company — can be divided. While the details of their potential agreement and its impact on the company are unknown, there are several options available when it comes to a high asset divorce.

Though dividing property can be complicated in any divorce, for affluent couples with assets spread across a variety of investments — including stock, retirement plans and real estate — the process can be especially complicated. When it comes to a business, one option is for one spouse to buy out the other’s interest in the company; the former will walk away with the shares of the company while the latter receives other marital assets. This may not be possible in the case of Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos because a great deal of their worth is related to their Amazon stocks. A buyout, however, could be spread out over time.

Another option is that shares are transferred over to one spouse while the other retains voting rights which, in this case, might seem like a more attractive option for Amazon investors. Perhaps less attractive is that the stocks could be sold and the proceeds split. However, doing so could impact Jeff’s controlling interest in the company.

A high asset divorce likely requires a great deal of negotiating. In a case such as this, additional expertise may be required. As such, most people in Illinois going through such a divorce want an experienced attorney to help them fully understand the full value of assets and to what, exactly, they may be entitled.


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