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What divorcing couples can learn from Jeff Bezos

Wealthy couples in Ohio who are considering ending their marriage might want to take a cue from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife. The two announced their divorce with a joint statement that said they would continue to cooperate going forward.

Divorce means many changes in a person's financial and personal life, but it is important for people to avoid letting those changes interfere with their professional life. A messy divorce that gets dragged into the workplace can hurt a company's value and may even result in a person's termination or early retirement.

People should prioritize what they will ask for in a divorce and approach it in a realistic fashion. It may help to hire legal and financial professionals to prepare for both the divorce and for life afterwards. Although both marriage and divorce are emotional events, the process of getting divorced is also a termination of a legal and financial contract and should be approached in that way. People should keep in mind that they probably will not get exactly what they ask for in the divorce, so they should decide what is acceptable. Taking the high road is usually a good practice as well. For parents, this may also ensure that they maintain a positive relationship with their children in the decades ahead.

Even couples who do not have millions of dollars in assets to divide may face some complex issues with property division. For example, dividing a 401(k) requires a document called a qualified domestic relations order that must be prepared in accordance with both the plan and the divorce agreement. For some couples, it might be easier for each person to take certain assets instead of trying to split all the property.

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