I didn't know Amazon founder and chief Jeff Bezos was married until I read on Wednesday that he's getting divorced. Coverage, unsurprisingly, led on the fact that if the world's richest man, with an estimated wealth of $137bn, and his wife don't have a pre-nuptial agreement, she could become the world's richest woman.
However, what struck me the most about this particular split wasn't how much cash the couple has in the bank or photos of their 'sprawling estate', but the positivity behind their joint statement:
I'm not sure what the 'loving exploration' involved, but the couple's statement took my mind back to 2014, when Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay singer Chris Martin decided to 'consciously uncouple'. The pair were ridiculed for that phrase, but they should be admired for remaining good friends. (The actress recently told a US talk show that Martin joined Paltrow and her new husband, TV producer Brad Falchuk, over Christmas for a 'big family honeymoon'.)
Sadly, the positivity behind the Bezos couple's split has got somewhat lost among tabloid coverage of the Amazon chief's love life. Having read too many sad and depressing divorce judgments, especially over the last couple of years, that's a real shame, especially as Family Mediation Week approaches.
Family Mediation Week, which starts on 21 January, is designed to raise awareness of how mediation can help separating families manage their issues collaboratively. Sarah French, an associate at family specialist Moore Blatch, says Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos's approach 'would definitely lend itself to mediation, which requires a level of trust and a desire to resolve things in a constructive and conciliatory fashion for the benefit of themselves and their family'.
Even though family mediation has remained within the scope of legal aid since the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) came into force in 2013, latest Ministry of Justice statistics show that mediation information and assessment meetings stand at just over a third of pre-LASPO levels.
Jeff and MacKenzie's positive words may have little, if any, impact on the take-up of family mediation. With the Ministry of Justice due to publish its LASPO review any day now, let's hope officials have conducted their own 'loving exploration' of how to boost mediation numbers.