Relationships

What are your thoughts on community property laws?

Jan 9

As Bezoes are divorcing, news outlets are discussing what Ms. Mackenzie will get. In a community property state, this is half, because Mr. Jeff did not have much assets, I assume, before marriage and even then assets are probably accidentally commingled anyway after 25 years. Further, if we would add hypothetical child support here, Mackenzie will get an uncapped sum propertionate to Jeff's income, so overall Mackenzie would gets more than half as a baseline. I assume no prenap.

Do you subscribe to the idea that without Mackenzie Jeff would have made half / less than half of what he has made?

Is this an fair tax on successful people? What if this baseline works as a tempting leverage for a less successful partner, and possibly poisons relationship?

I have no problem to keep existing laws for e.g. 2mln of assets. Above this -- I don't get the fairness or benefits to the society of such a redistribution of wealth.

Do you think that a prenap is the only way to go?

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  • Tableau Zero Cool
    Do you think he could have made it there without his wife?
    Jan 99
    • Groupon CZb57%
      Never underestimate the value of having a strong partner at your side. That said, he would be successful either way.
      Jan 9
    • Airbnb
      ccav

      Airbnb

      PRE
      Google
      ccavmore
      LOL
      Jan 9
    • OP
      I am convinced that he would have. It is Jeff and employees, contractors, and partners of Amazon that have created his wealth.

      Amazon corp agrees with this, or she should have been listed as a key party for Amazon in SEC filings.

      Mackenzie could have made Jeff's life miserable so much that he would have not made it that far. I can grant this one.
      Jan 9
    • Tableau Zero Cool
      Maybe without his wife he would be a depressed virgin who complains on blind all day. Just sayin'
      Jan 9
    • OP
      I imagine that there is a line of very eligible ladies who would be willing to date such a bachelor post 2000.

      Basically, similar to 2 and half men TV series. Jeff can fly a date on his airplane to Mexico to visit a Mexican restaurant.
      Jan 9
    • Tableau Zero Cool
      You wish
      Jan 9
    • Microsoft tingtang
      @Zero Cool or without his wife he would have been able to focus even more time on Amazon and be even richer. It’s all hypothetical.
      Jan 9
    • Tableau Zero Cool
      Of course it's possible. But it is stupid to think she is not part of the success.
      Could he be more successful without her? Sure. Could he had been more successful without investors? Possible.
      Jan 9
    • Microsoft tingtang
      But what evidence do you have that she is part of it? Why do you just assume that’s the case and that it is stupid to think she is not part of it?
      Jan 9
  • Microsoft anon2018
    They suck balls. Ask anyone who's been screwed over by an unfaithful spouse that they've lovingly supported for years.
    Jan 90
  • Facebook public2
    Prenup or don't get married, period
    Jan 90
  • Microsoft pock
    Ever heard of marriage tax? Its not uncommon for really rich folks to get divorced to save tax.

    As to your original question: prenup or marrying in a non-communal property state is the way to go
    Jan 93
    • Amazon Plzhlp
      Prenups have expirations in some states. And many have expiration clauses regardless. And that’s assuming they gone one that covered a 1 trillion dollar company.
      Jan 9
    • OP
      So, a prenap is likely a perpetual maintenance problem (like teeth), but still seems so much better than leaving the issue to the State, courts, and greedy attroneys.
      Jan 9
    • Microsoft tingtang
      And this perpetual prenup option is better than having a real discussion about fair laws in the first place?
      Jan 9
  • Microsoft tingtang
    The idea is fair but the reality is that it is so strict that no deviations can be made for individual cases. If one spouse makes $1 million a year and a few months into the marriage, the other spouse says well fuck it I no longer need to work or do anything, then the “lazy” spouse gets half of a conscious and “malicious” decision. And the partner who makes the large sum of money may be kind and try and make the marriage work but in the end is screwing themselves over. If the non-working spouse has had to give up a promising career or done substantial work for the marriage which has enabled the rich partner to make the money then they are absolutely entitled to half.

    Put simply, it encourages bad behavior because one partner can be like “yeah you might not like it but what are you going to do, divorce me and be poor?”

    Divorce courts need to have less rigidity and more flexibility. As the law stands right now, it is way too easy for partners to just say fuck it I’m gonna sit on my ass all day and get handsomely rewarded for it.
    Jan 95
    • OP
      @tingtang: I don't see a problem. If you have a prenap that e..g. says that everything is separate, there is no problem. Both parties can choose to continue with marriage, or divorce.

      Or, if a prenap said "community property on all income" because both were making about the same when it was signed, then when one party quits working, another one can revisit it in the same year. In this case the assets should be split per original agreements in half (they were earned with equal contribution).
      Jan 9
    • Microsoft tingtang
      Sure prenups can solve the original problems in the law but my point was more that as written the laws, although well-intentioned, often result in bad outcomes. You effectively need a prenup to correct them and prenups are very awkward to discuss before marriage and often socially unacceptable.
      Jan 9
    • OP
      Of course. If you are a party that will be consuming resources of a union, on balance, you don't want a prenap. You need some combination of a strategy to charm a partner, shame the partner, promise that it won't be needed, and find any problem to discredit it.
      Jan 9
    • Intel UGeJ58
      ^^If you have problems and discussing real issues is "awkward", you are in for a rough ride.
      Jan 9
    • Microsoft tingtang
      Sure, life is a rough ride
      Jan 9
  • Salesforce
    lozere

    Salesforce

    BIO
    I
    lozeremore
    Absolutely it's fair. I would totally give up half my wealth for someone who compromised to be with me and helped me achieve that wealth in the first place! Esp if he also made it possible for me to even have a chance at having a family. It's your responsibility to choose a non malicious partner.

    Besides for bezos, 25 years of love and support to build Amazon isn't something he can put a price on. You can't be that successful unless you have a partner who gives it their all for you.
    Jan 92
    • Microsoft tingtang
      “You can’t be that successful unless you have a partner who gives it their all for you”...

      So single people cannot be that successful?

      “It’s your responsibility to choose a non malicious partner”...

      So nobody ever changes after 25 years? Or if they can change then can you please let all of us know where the crystal ball is that lets people know who will become malicious vs not?
      Jan 9
    • Salesforce
      lozere

      Salesforce

      BIO
      I
      lozeremore
      There's a risk in marriage. No one's forcing one to marry. Or to stay married.

      Single people can. Its just that in a family unit, success is usually never an isolated effort.
      Jan 9
  • Oracle
    lllllli

    Oracle

    PRE
    Google, Facebook, Instacart, Twitter, Uber, Air Asia, IBM, Cisco
    llllllimore
    What difference does it make either way? For all practical purposes (except bragging rights) 1/2 of his net worth (or even 1/100) is the same as his whole net worth.
    Jan 91
    • OP
      OK, I agree that this point confused the matter. I am more interested in a scenario of more realistic net worth. E.g. a case when every million counts, say 5 mln net worth close to retirement.
      Jan 9
  • Tesla tTfQ61
    Wondering if Blue Origin loses out on this news as Jeff’s personal wealth will take a big hit
    Jan 90
  • OpenTable Meliodas
    There is no “redistribution of wealth.” 50% is what they agreed to at the start of the contract. It isn’t his company, it belongs to both of them and always has.
    Jan 91
    • OP
      Yes, on paper. In reality many couples had nothing and didn't expect significant wealth a few decades later and that the relationship will sour.
      Jan 9
  • LinkedIn
    plowing

    LinkedIn

    BIO
    Always plowing hard
    plowingmore
    Well, how do you make it more fair? $2M limit is really not a lot.

    Say if we have a law saying the redistribution is capped at $10M. Why would anyone pass such a law specifically for rich people?
    Jan 91
    • OP
      I am happy to leave the cap to voters.

      I roughly thought that 2m+ assets give you 1m, and at 5% investment return, this is 50k in perpetuity, inflation adjusted. There is a research that people don't need more to be happy, and other similar arguments. Of course, everybody is free to work on top of this...
      Jan 9

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