Recently, people have been talking about whether or not Facebook has been a contributing factor to many divorces. In fact, our last post explored why a significant amount of divorces mention or directly involve a spouse’s behavior on the social networking site. In spite of all that, the founder of the newly-public company just tied the knot with his college sweetheart. Many people are speculating whether or not the couple had a prenuptial agreement drawn up prior to the wedding.
Given his enormous amount of wealth, it is likely that Mark Zuckerberg had a prenup in place. The couple got married the day after Facebook went public, which may not have been a coincidence. When the company went public, Zuckerberg’s net worth of $17 billion was clarified. This is important to note since California is a community property state. This means that if a couple is divorced in California, any property or money accrued prior to the wedding belongs to the individual. Anything that is made or lost during the course of a marriage would be split between the spouses if they divorce.
Essentially, this would mean that Zuckerberg’s $17 billion belongs to him if the couple splits up. It gets tricky, however, when you consider the fact that Facebook will continue to grow and generate a huge profit. The growth of those assets would likely be considered community property. This is why it would be very important to have a prenuptial agreement in place.
In a situation like this, a prenup could set a limit on how much of a company’s growth will be considered to be community property. A couple could negotiate the amounts of spousal support that would be paid in the event of a divorce. Assets could be assigned and divided, and the financial security of each spouse could be protected.
Sources say that Zuckerberg’s wife would be amenable to a prenuptial agreement. It was said that, prior to moving to California to be with Zuckerberg many years ago, she prepared a relationship agreement for him to sign. It outlined what the couple would agree to in order to make her relocation, and their relationship, a success. With this kind of planning and documentation, it is quite likely that she, and her new husband, understand the importance of laying everything on the table before a big change.
Source: The New York Times, “Zuckerberg’s Property Status, Post-Marriage,” Tara Siegel Bernard, May 21, 2012