Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce was approved by the King County court in Washington state on Monday morning, officially ending their 27-year marriage.
Melinda French Gates’ petition for divorce, filed to the court in May, stated that the couple’s relationship was “irretrievably broken.” The divorce paperwork finalized on Monday said that she would not be changing her name and did not offer any spousal support, which French Gates said was not necessary in her original filing.
The decisions regarding division of property were outlined in a separation agreement that was not included in Monday’s dissolution decree.
Gates, 65, and French Gates, 56, first announced their divorce in a joint statement in May, saying they no longer "believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives."
"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," they said in the statement. "Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives."
News of the divorce raised questions about how the couple's business and charitable dealings might be impacted. Gates, who founded Microsoft in 1975 and owns 1.3 percent of its shares, is a multibillionaire and one of the wealthiest people in the world. He has not served as Microsoft's chief executive since 2000 and stepped down from the board last year.
Both have agreed to continue to run The Gates Foundation together following their divorce, they said last month. The foundation’s assets have been valued at nearly $50 billion, according to its financial statements.
It's been considered the world’s largest private philanthropic organization for the past 20 years.
According to the couple, if after two years Gates and French Gates decide they cannot continue in their roles, French Gates will resign her positions as co-chair and trustee. Gates would buy her out of the foundation and she would receive resources from him to do her own philanthropic work as part of the agreement.