Today we learned that Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos are planning to divorce after 25 years of marriage. My heart always sinks a little when I see news of a prominent couple getting divorced – especially when kids are involved. Yet, I also know that after 25 years of marriage, they likely did not make this decision overnight. There were probably months (if not years) of soulful, heartbreaking efforts and, in the end, they decided they would be better apart. And at least to those of us outsiders, it seems that they are uncoupling with integrity – united in their efforts not to place blame, to acknowledge their ongoing friendship and the impact that divorce may have on their four children.
So, given that they appear to be on the same page with wanting an amicable divorce, I am hopeful they can refrain from litigating and/or turning into bitter enemies. I am not saying this will be easy. But if they are truly on the same page and committed to negotiating separation terms, financial division, etc., in good faith (maybe with a few experts involved), then they can keep this divorce out of court. And, if they’d like, we are happy to help them over at Hello Divorce. 🙂
At Hello Divorce we help so many good people through challenging times. So, if you’re out there, Jeff and MacKenzie, know that we’re here for you, just like we are for the rest of our community. Whether they (or you) decide to become a free Starter Member to get access to our collection of useful articles and resources, or choose to get more support through one of our affordable membership options, one-on-one fixed fee lawyers or mediation coaches – know that every step of the way, we’re in this together.
The First Steps
Given Jeff and MacKenzie’s specific situation, I’d recommend starting with our resource, Tips for Keeping Your Divorce Out of the Public Eye.
Then, I’d advise downloading the Hello Divorce Worksheet. It’s a document that walks a person through specific questions that will need to be addressed as the divorce process begins – from child custody and spousal support considerations to asset and debt division to how retirement accounts will be handled. Take it to your attorney or mediator or keep the completed worksheet handy if you plan to complete the official divorce paperwork on your own.
And while money may not be as much of a consideration for them as it is for the rest of us, the press has always portrayed Jeff as notoriously cheap (hey, you don’t become the world’s richest man by throwing cash around!), so I’d also recommend following these 10 Tips to Make Divorce Easier and Less Costly.
Considering the Kids
Their four children are old enough to understand what’s happening, and they are old enough to read the news. Their family seems very closely knit – until 2013, MacKenzie drove the family Honda to drop the kids off at school and Jeff at work – so there’s no doubt in my mind that Jeff and MacKenzie understand exactly how important it is to be honest and as transparent as possible about how the divorce will affect the children, and mindful of what their kids are reading or hearing from friends at school.
They might consider adopting these five co-parenting hacks to help keep communication in check as they move forward, or taking advice from this parenting coach, who applied co-parenting advice she now shares with others when she and her husband divorced. And the Hello Divorce team has pulled together an extensive list of books on the child custody process that we strongly recommend for anyone going through divorce with kids…all of which are available on Amazon, by the way!
Make time for Self-Care
Finally, for Jeff and MacKenzie (and all of you out there), the #1 thing I always tell every single one of my clients is that you absolutely, positively must make time for self-care in this process. I’m not talking green juice and yoga here (unless that’s your thing!) – I’m simply talking about carving out even a little bit of time every single week to clear your head, center yourself and focus on what you need in that very moment. It might be a glass of wine out with a friend, it might be uninterrupted time losing yourself in a good book, or it might be a multiple episode binge of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” on Amazon Video (um…guilty!).
If you’re short on ideas, check out our list of 101 self-care suggestions, or download our self-care worksheet. It’s a step-by-step worksheet that will help you produce a personalized self-care plan that you’ll actually follow.
Get Help When You Need It
No matter who you are or how much money you have, unless you have an extremely contentious divorce, there’s no need to “lawyer up” and pay exorbitant retainer fees for legal services you don’t understand and may not need. Save those hard-earned dollars for help when you truly need it. Through Hello Divorce, you can access affordable, flat-rate legal services, mediation consulting, document preparation, legal and litigation coaching – even in as little as a 30-minute block of time.
Divorce is difficult, whether you’re Jeff Bezos or John Doe. But you have the power to stay in charge during this process, to navigate your divorce efficiently and humanely to the next chapter waiting for you. We’re in this process with you. Just let us know when you’re ready for a little extra hand along the way, and the Hello Divorce team will be there, ready to help you move forward.