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Bill and Melinda Gates to divorce

Bill and Melinda Gates have filed for divorce and will now set about dividing their US$130 billion fortune.

A petition for dissolution of their marriage was filed by the couple in King County, Washington.

They have been married since 1 January 1994.

"The marriage is irretrievably broken. We ask the court to dissolve our marriage and find that our marital community ended on the date stated in our separation contract," the filing said.

Their youngest child has just turned 18, so no custody arrangements are needed, and the filings said there would be no need for child support or spousal support.

There is a written separation contract, which the court is asked to enforce.

The Gates' released a joint statement confirming the divorce.

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. 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," they said.

"We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple for the next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life."

The Gates' have significant assets to divide.

The Land Report recently revealed that Bill and Melinda Gates are the largest owners of farmland in the entire US, owning approximately 242,000 acres.

Cascade Investment, the holding company controlled by Gates, is technically the owner of the land.

The couple also owns an impressive art collection which includes Leonardo da Vinci's notebook, known as The Codex Leicester, which he purchased in 1994 for US $30.8 million. In 2017, he loaned the manuscript to a museum in Florence - its first time being displayed to the public in decades.

Various publications have also reported that the couple owns up to 30 luxury vehicles, two private jets and multiple helicopters.

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