Newspapers and TV networks in Minnesota and throughout the world have been reeling with headlines and segments about the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce. Since Gates is one of the wealthiest men on the planet, many people are interested in the former couple’s property division proceedings. Melinda Gates filed for divorce in a state that operates under community property rules.
Difference between community property and equitable property rules
In Minnesota and most other states, a family court judge does not necessarily split marital property 50/50 in a divorce. This is because a majority of the 50 states operate under equitable property rules, which refers to a fair, although not necessarily equal, division of property. Bill and Melinda Gates have filed for divorce in a community property state where marital assets are typically split 50/50 between spouses.
Jets, real estate, cars and artwork
It is logical to assume that the Gates’s property division proceedings might be complex. More than one private airplane, each worth more than $65 million, is believed to be among the list of assets in the Gates case.
The estimated value of the former couple’s real estate is $350 million. It includes homes in five separate states, including one that features a 1000-square foot dining room and another that has a swimming pool with an underwater music system. Gates also reportedly owns an extensive collection of artworks, including a notebook of Leonardo Da Vinci that he purchased for $30 million.
Resolving high-net worth asset issues
While most Minnesota divorces do not include property division proceedings that list assets such as a home theater than seats 20 or a house with a 5-acre artificial stream stocked with trout and salmon, many spouses have concerns about businesses they own, investments they have made or issues such as retirement benefits when they divorce.
A concerned spouse can meet with an experienced family law attorney before heading to court in order to discuss such matters. Such an attorney can also provide recommendations on how to protect financial interests during proceedings.