Family Law

How Mark Zuckerberg's Well-Timed Marriage May Protect His Assets in the Event of Divorce

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Mark Zuckerberg probably had a prenup before he married his college sweetheart Priscilla Chan on Saturday, an agreement that may give him greater protection for his Facebook assets in the event of divorce than he would get if he continued in an unmarried relationship.

Napa, Calif., lawyer Robert Blevans explains to Reuters why Chan may have benefited by living together. “In California, people who live together without the benefit of marriage could claim they had an agreement to pool resources and efforts,” he said. He cautioned, however, that such palimony claims can be hard to prove.

Prenups generally waive the right to make claims based on California community property laws, which state that property created after marriage is community property and should be split evenly after divorce.

If there was no prenup, Zuckerberg benefited by waiting until after the initial public offering, report the New York Daily News and Forbes. If the marriage had taken place before the IPO, his shares could have been considered marital assets. Since it took place afterward, he can argue his Facebook holdings were separate property acquired before marriage, and they weren’t marital property. He probably couldn’t make the same argument, however, about gains made after the marriage. Earnings from work are generally considered community property.

The Zuckerbergs announced their marriage by updating their Facebook pages, Forbes reports in a separate article.

Hat tip to Pat’s Papers.

Did you get a prenup before marrying? Would you ever? When would you tell a client to get a prenup? Let us know in an answer to our Question of the Week.

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