Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates are now officially divorced
Bill and Melinda French Gates are now officially divorced after Washington's King County court approved their divorce on Monday. According to the order, the 27-year marriage ended after the two agreed on a "separation contract" that wasn't filed in the divorce proceedings. Additionally, the courts didn't establish any child support plans since all three Gates's children are adults. Here are more details.
French Gates reportedly sought divorce lawyers after Bill-Epstein connections surfaced
The Gateses got married on January 1, 1994 in Lanai, Hawaii. However, French Gates reportedly sought divorce lawyers in 2019 after Gates's ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein surfaced. Bloomberg reported that neither party will receive "spousal support" or change their names. The division of property, debt, and court fees will be processed according to the aforementioned confidential separation contract.
Judge deems Gateses separation agreement 'just and equitable'
Washington is a community property state, meaning that divorces mandate an equal split of anything accrued during the marriage. However, the separation agreement can supersede this as long as both parties agree and the court signs off on it. Since the split was announced in May, shares worth over $3 billion held by Gates's Cascade Investment have been transferred to French Gates's name.
Former couple will continue to co-chair Gates Foundation together
Notably, the former couple has refused to disturb their philanthropic venture, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to combat poverty, disease and inequity, among other pressing issues. According to the Foundation's CEO Mark Suzman, if the duo cannot work together, French Gates may step down from her role as co-chair and trustee in two years and Gates would buy her out.
Gates Foundation's endowment stands at $50 billion
According to the separation agreement, if she steps down, French Gates would receive resources from Gates to do her own philanthropic work. For now, despite the divorce, the former couple continues to run the Foundation together according to a statement last month. NBC News reported that according to financial statements, the Foundation's endowment stands at about $50 billion.