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What Washington spouses can learn from MacKenzie Bezos's divorce

Washington is one of nine states that operates under community property guidelines when it comes to divorce proceedings. This means marital assets are typically split 50/50 between spouses. Some people mistakenly believe that the more "things" they walk away with in a divorce, the better off they are. However, as the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's settlement shown, it is property value that matters most.

When MacKenzie Bezos filed for divorce, she owned stakes in several companies with her husband. During property division proceedings, she agreed to surrender her shares in both The Washington Post newspaper company and Blue Origin, a space technology company. In exchange, MacKenzie agreed to accept a 25% share in Amazon.

Some people may have questioned that decision. However, now, a year later, it appears MacKenzie Bezos knew exactly what she was doing. Financial analysts estimate her current net worth to be more than $47 billion, making her one of the 17 wealthiest people in the world.

Divorce is never easy, and if Washington spouses disagree about property division issues, things can get quite messy in court. This is one of many reasons it pays to connect with an experienced family law attorney from the start. Such an attorney is well-versed in state laws and can recommend courses of action that are sure to protect a client's rights and financial interests. An attorney can also help investigate matters if a client suspects his or her spouse is trying to hide assets to keep them out of property division proceedings.

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