Bill Gates Divorce - Can finances be divided amicably

Claire Edgar

18 May 2021

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda recently announced their intention to divorce after 27 years of marriage. 

Having reportedly accumulated an extraordinary wealth of $130 billion, it was no surprise that the media response was live with speculation as to how their significant assets would be divided out upon divorce, particularly as it transpired that the couple had not entered into a pre-nupital agreement prior to their marriage. However, it has since been reported that divorce papers filed by the couple make repeated reference to a “separation contract” which both have signed. It appears therefore that the couple, who share three children as well as business and charitable commitments, wish to have the marriage dissolved and assets divided in as amicable a manner as possible. 

Where there are financial issues arising following breakdown of the marriage, it is not necessary to ask the Court to determine how these should be divided. It is very common for  parties who wish to avoid the stress and expense of Court proceedings to enter into negotiations with one another through their solicitors with a view to reaching a financial  settlement on an agreed and amicable basis.  This is known as a Matrimonial Agreement.

If an agreement can be reached,  it will be drawn up into a legally binding document to be signed by both parties and often made an Order of the Court upon Divorce.

Increasingly these agreements are made on a “clean break” basis.  That means that they set out what each parties’ entitlements are to family finances and provide that neither party will have a claim to the other’s finances in the future.

We can provide specialist advice and assistance in negotiating Matrimonial Agreements with a view to reaching financial settlement and if settlement is not possible, to obtaining the best result for our clients through the Court system. 

For confidential advice and assistance regarding divorce and separation, please contact Claire Edgar on 028 9024 3901, or by email at