Tips Execs Should Take from the Bezos Divorce

The matrimonial party is over at Amazon.com. After 25 years, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie announced that they will file for a divorce. With a reported, 137 billion dollars on the line and no prenuptial agreement, the division of assets will be incredibly complicated. But, so far, the couple has handled the announcement with good grace and planning.

According to Charlie Hodges and Brian L. Webb, special contributors to The Texas Lawbook, every corporate executive can learn from the manner in which the couple has handled the divorce thus far.

Five ways the Bezos are getting it right:

  • Preparation and discussions of the divorce seem to have been conducted before the couple went public with their plans. They got this right according to Hodges and Webb who suggest, “Dot every ‘i,’ cross every ‘t,’ work out every detail, agree on everything – then announce your plans to the world.”
  • Deciding to divorce is hard enough without 137 billion in assets (nearly all of it in the form of Amazon stock). There is no way a couple, even a power couple like the Bezos can prepare for every financial issue that will arise from the divorce. Hodges and Webb write, “Where there are disagreements, settle them quietly – before your first court date.”
  • Another point raised in The Texas Lawbook article is that executives in search of legal advice regarding divorce should not overlook their general counsel. The general counsel will not be able to represent the executive but will be able to suggest steps to take and recommend a solid divorce lawyer. “A general counsel, generally, is a skilled, trusted, reliable legal advocate.”
  • While executives might be tempted to share information about the divorce on social media to quell rumors, Hodges and Webb advise that the parties involved in the divorce, “Shut up. Stay off social media. Period.” and “Don’t try to delete old posts – that could be tampering with evidence.”
  • The biggest and brightest divorce lawyer might look like an attractive choice. After all, executives have a lot at stake in a divorce and everyone wants to win. “To minimize publicity, avoid publicity-seeking lawyers” suggest Hodges and Webb.

By V.L. Brunskill

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