For many years, you would almost never hear about Bill Gates or Melinda Gates separately. Between their marriage that nearly lasted three decades and their world-famous charitable foundation, they were a power couple that almost everyone knew.
When news of their divorce hit the mainstream media, people felt shocked and surprised. After reports quickly answered questions about what led to the divorce, other lingering questions remained. The two could potentially face one of the most high-asset divorces ever litigated in the United States.
If they can’t reach a settlement outside of court that they both agree to, they will have to prepare for divorce proceedings. There is a very important lesson here for both married and engaged couples.
The only way to avoid a messy divorce is to plan ahead
The more assets a couple shares or the more serious the issue that led to their divorce, the more likely it is that their court proceedings will turn ugly. Money and rejection alike can motivate people to do unethical and highly questionable things.
Bill and Melinda Gates could wind up airing all of their dirty laundry in public as they struggle to find a way to split their assets. With divorces among older couples on the rise, even those long married need to think about what would happen if their relationship falls apart.
Those who have not yet married are in a position to create a prenuptial agreement. They can set terms while their relationship is good to fairly separate their lives if the relationship ends later. Those already married have the option of creating a postnuptial agreement that can help them split up their property, clarify expectations between spouses and avoid the most expensive and embarrassing parts of a contested divorce.
If there is one thing the public could learn from Bill and Melinda Gates, it is that even long marriages can end in messy divorces. Marital agreements are crucial to avoiding a divorce nightmare.
Marital agreements keep things civil between spouses
The reason divorce often becomes so contentious and bitter is largely that couples no longer in love with one another may not have respect for each other the way they once did. They let their anger about the relationship affect the decisions they make about their legal and financial situation.
Getting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement eliminates the risk of an embarrassing and messy divorce in the future while also clarifying what you want from the marriage and possibly setting you up for greater success in your relationship.