<p><img src="https://static6.businessinsider.com/image/6091074034af8d001859ab52-1457/GettyImages-1124700587.jpg" border="0" alt="Bill and Melinda Gates." data-mce-source="Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images" data-mce-caption="Bill and Melinda Gates."></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/bill-and-melinda-gates-marriage-2017-11">Bill and Melinda Gates</a> never signed a prenuptial agreement, but they do have a "separation contract" that stipulates how they will split their property when they separate, <a href="https://www.tmz.com/2021/05/03/bill-melinda-gates-divorce-27-years-marriage-foundation/">TMZ</a> reported Monday.</p><p>The philanthropist couple announced Monday that <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/bill-melinda-gates-announce-divorce-end-marriage-2021-5">they were getting divorced</a> after <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/bill-and-melinda-gates-marriage-2017-11">27 years of marriage</a>.</p><p>Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft and owns 1% of the tech company, is worth $146 billion, according to <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/profiles/william-h-gates/'sref=lAVQtUwz">Bloomberg</a>. This makes him the fourth-richest person in the world. The divorce settlement could be one of the largest ever.</p><p>TMZ shared a copy of the Gates' divorce filings, which asked whether the couple had signed a prenup, separation contract, or community property agreement.</p><p>The couple said they had a separation contract, which they wanted the court to enforce, but did not say that they had a prenup.</p><p><em><strong>Read more: </strong><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gates-quantumscape-jagdeep-singh-solid-state-batteries-2020-12" data-e2e-name="inline-read-more-link">How the CEO of a Bill Gates-backed battery startup convinced the tech mogul to invest in his solid-state tech</a></em></p><p>A <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/prenup-myths-you-should-stop-believing-2018-10">prenup</a> is a legal agreement that couples can sign before marriage. It establishes what will happen with a couple's assets if they divorce or one of them dies, and can also set financial expectations for a marriage.</p><p>A separation agreement, or contract, is a private legal document signed by a couple when they want to spend time apart and live separately. It lists their rights and obligations, such as child support and custody, and is signed without involving the court.</p><p>Sometimes a separation contract is followed by a divorce, but some couples use it as an opportunity to repair their marriage, according to the <a href="https://www.nycbar.org/get-legal-help/article/family-law/marital-agreements/separation-agreement/">New York City Bar</a>.</p><p>In the divorce filings, the couple asked for their real property, personal property, and debts to be split according to their separation contract. Melinda did not ask for spousal support.</p><p>The couple also said that their marriage was "irretrievably broken," and asked for the court to end their marriage on the date stated in their separation contract, though this date was not provided in the divorce filings shared by TMZ.</p><p>The documents, filed Monday in King County, Washington, list Melinda as the petitioner and Bill as the respondent. The filings include a trial date of April 4, 2022.</p><p>The settlement from the Gates' divorce could be one of the largest ever, Insider's <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/bill-melinda-gates-announce-divorce-end-marriage-2021-5">Katie Canales</a> reported. When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, split up in 2019, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-mackenzie-bezos-divorce-official-settlement-38-billion-2019-7" data-analytics-module="body_link" data-analytics-post-depth="100" data-uri="f0a5dc8b86b3399df91f96387bc93ae5">their settlement was $38 billion</a>, making MacKenzie Scott the world's third-wealthiest woman.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gates-melinda-gates-divorce-prenup-marriage-money-wealth-fortune-2021-5#comments">Join the conversation about this story »</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-the-1999-russian-apartment-bombings-led-to-putins-rise-to-power-2018-3">How the 1999 Russian apartment bombings led to Putin's rise to power</a></p> Click here to read full news..