How Bill and Melinda Gates divorce could affect nearly $130 billion fortune

The billionaire power couple's split could become the most expensive divorce of all time with Bill Gates' earnings worth an estimated $124 billion.
5:25 | 05/04/21

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Transcript for How Bill and Melinda Gates divorce could affect nearly $130 billion fortune
Back now with more on the divorce of bill and Melinda Gates. Many wondering what it means for their fortune approaching $150 billion. Amy joins us now with more on what happens when ultra rich couples split up. Yes, bill and Melinda Gates are joining a number of other wealthy couples splitting up after decades' long marriages. Theirs is reportedly amcable but it will be costly. A first step in what could be the most expensive divorce of all time. Bill currently in the top five of the world's richest people in worth an estimated $124 billion. The couple is saying the marriage is irretrievably broken but the split is seemingly amicable hiring Bob Cohen who previously represented Mike Bloomberg, Ivana trump and uma Thurman. Assets include over 229 acres of farmland and several multimillion dollar properties including an $8.7 million home in Florida and the Gates' largest home in Washington worth 131 million. With a fortune amassed from the tech giant's role as co-founder of Microsoft, the couple founded the bill and Melinda Gates foundation, spending a nearly 55 billion endowment across charitable sectors like global health, gender equality and public policy. Over a marriage spanning 27 year, the couple share three adult kids and several joint and individual ventures, in 2019 telling our "Gma" audience the importance of balance. I think one of our biggest struggles for us was how do we ail out our time between us and our three kids and busy lives and what bill said, said beautifully, he realized it wasn't good for either of us to be the time cop even though I felt that way but that it's having shared goals. Reporter: Their split could play runner-up to the most expensive settlement in history, in 2019 Amazon CEO Jeff bezos and Mackenzie Scott dissolved their 25-year marriage and Mackenzie walking away with a 25% share of the Amazon stocks with her share worth $36 billion. Mackenzie donating 5 billion in the past year of her fortune and after a drawn out public battle in 2008 Paul Mccartney and Heather mills settled for $48.6 million. Still no match for media titan Rupert Murdoch no stranger to divorce's split with his second wife in 1999 for 1.7 billion. Now, if Melinda Gates ends up even supply flitting the fortune that means she would receive around $65 billion and would put her second on that list. George. Thanks. Let's bring in David glass for more on this. David, Washington is a community property state but that doesn't necessarily mean that Melinda Gates gets half of all this, right? That's right. Community property means property acquired during the so when they got married bill Gates had already created Microsoft and was their largest shareholder so not all of that money, not all those shares will be community property. That's a very complicated and complex calculation that has to be done. And when you look at the divorce petition what does it say? She is not asking for any support That's right. It's pretty clear they're both going to have more than enough to survive on so she's not asking for any support but the important thing about the petition is that it's a joint petition which in Washington state gives you the fast track to getting your divorce. Once you've reached an agreement you can get your divorce in 90 days. So but almost certainly this agreement has been locked up for quite some time, right? Absolutely. They wouldn't have filed for the divorce, they wouldn't have filed in a jants fashion unless they already have a complex agreement down on paper and inked. What about the impact on the Microsoft stock? I know that the bezos divorce, they certainly were taking that into consideration as they announced their plan, they wanted to make sure it didn't tank which would hurt both. Expect similar arrangements here? I'm not so sure. At this point his stock ownership is about 1% of the company and he hasn't been involved in Microsoft. What I think is more important is their legacy. In the public's eye they have this foundation, the largest foundation in the world, doing all sorts of wonderful work and be more concerned about how they look and how the work of their foundation looks to the public. So clear they put out a joint statement from the foundation. Correct. And they've spent almost $2 billion on covid in the last year. They don't want to be caught arguing over who gets the grand piano in a court battle. You dealt with a lot of these. What are some of the surprising things these ultra rich cups face as they are going through divorce. With people who have you will ma amounts of money, you can go one of two ways. Either both parties can say there's more than enough money and we can split everything easily. On the other hand they can argue -- they can get down to arguing about who gets to keep this house versus that house. Who gets to keep the stock account the same way a couple arguing over a 1981 vw rabbit and 401(k) And a house worth $500,000. Well, that's not exactly the same. Thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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