This divorce could get very complicated — and very expensive.
If they did not have a prenuptial agreement, MacKenzie, 48, would be entitled to half of the 54-year-old Amazon CEO’s estimated net worth of $137 billion.
Making things more complicated, Washington, where the couple resides, is a community property state, which means that all assets and debts accrued during the marriage are considered owned equally by both spouses unless there was a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise.
Although it’s never been made public whether the pair had a prenup in place when they wed, Steve Mindel, a Los Angeles-based family law and divorce attorney tells PEOPLE that it’s highly unlikely they would have been able to keep that a secret.
“I would think it’s pretty unlikely there was a prenup because you hear a lot about them now,” Mindel explains. “By this point there would be some statement or leaks about a prenup or postnup.”
The family and divorce attorney went on to share that while both parties will likely walk away with an incredibly large sum, there are other important assets at stake.
“I think we can assume they did not have a premarital agreement but as the congressman always say, ‘A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money,’ ” Mindel tells PEOPLE. “I think that’s going to be the story here — no matter what happens she’s going to end up with a ton of money, he’s going to end up with a ton of money and remember, they’ve already started their charitable giving.”
“The bigger question is going to be: who controls the charitable gifts that they have because that gift giving is in the billions of dollars,” he adds.
In September, Bezos announced that he and MacKenzie were committing $2 billion to launch a new initiative called the Bezos Day One Fund, which helps fund “existing non-profits that help homeless families” as well as creating new, non-profit pre-schools in low-income communities.
Although the Amazon CEO would go on to amass an incredibly large fortune, when the pair first began their whirlwind relationship in 1993, marrying just six months after their first date, their financial situation was quite different.
The two met after MacKenzie graduated from Princeton University with an English degree. She moved to New York City and interviewed at the investment management firm D.E. Shaw where Jeff was the first person who interviewed her.
The two were engaged within three months after their first date, and married within six, according to Vogue.
Shortly after they married, the two quit their jobs and moved to Seattle to found Amazon, and lived in a one-bedroom rental there before the business took off.
Jeff and MacKenzie announced the news in a statement on the billionaire’s Twitter account on Wednesday, writing that they had decided to continue their “shared lives as friends.”
“We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for every one of the years we have been married to each other. If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again,” they added in the statement.
The pair have four children together — three sons and a daughter.
Shortly after news of his divorce was made public, multiple sources confirmed to PEOPLE that Bezos is currently seeing news anchor Lauren Sanchez.
PEOPLE confirmed Sanchez, 49, is also divorcing her husband Patrick Whitesell after 13 years of marriage. The former Good Day LA host and frequent contributor to Extra and The View shares two kids with Whitesell and also has a son from a previous relationship.
Most recently, the 54-year-old billionaire was spotted chatting with Sanchez at Amazon’s Golden Globes afterparty last week, which was also attended by her soon-to-be ex-husband, a fellow partygoer told PEOPLE.
A source recently told PEOPLE that Bezos and Sanchez have been spotted spending more and more time together in recent months.
“Lauren and Jeff have been spending a lot of time together over the last year and especially the past few months,” the source shared “At first it was socially at parties… here and there. But their time together has definitely seemed to evolve, raising some eyebrows. Jeff has met a small group of Lauren’s girlfriends, too. The two of them are sort of thick as thieves right now.”