Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s recent marriage to his longtime girlfriend would not generally be of particular interest any New Jersey family lawyer. However, the timing of the nuptials has raised more than a few eyebrows. The marriage took place exactly one day after the much vaunted Facebook IPO.
The Zuckerberg marriage occurred in California, which is one of a handful of community property states in the country. Under California laws, any property accumulated by either spouse after the marriage is considered joint property. However, property or wealth accumulated before the marriage is regarded as separate property and is not divided between the couple in the event of a divorce.
The Facebook IPO made Zuckerberg one of the wealthiest men on the planet, with an approximate net worth of $20 billion. The shares of Facebook that Zuckerberg obtained through the IPO will be regarded as separate property under California law because he obtained them before the marriage took place. Because those assets were gained one day before his marriage, the assets are beyond the reach of his wife in the event of a divorce.
In this context, New Jersey family lawyers assume that Zuckerberg’s decision to tie the knot on this particular day was a strategic decision to protect his assets.
The couple hasn’t confirmed whether they executed a prenuptial agreement, but it is likely that a prenup was signed. As the founder of Facebook, Zuckerberg owns more than 28% of the company. In the event of a divorce, some of those shares could be handed over to his wife, which would affect his controlling power. It is highly unlikely that his legal team advised him to get married without a prenuptial agreement that would protect his shares in the company.
The New Jersey family lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons in divorce, child support, child custody, and other family law-related matters across New Jersey.