How the New Marriage of Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook, May Affect His Assets in a Divorce
Mark Zuckerberg, the infamous founder of the popular social networking site Facebook, married his college sweetheart on May 19 in a backyard ceremony in California. The timing of the nuptials has raised some eyebrows, however, as the wedding happened a day after Facebook went public, and some are wondering if this had anything to do with the terms of a prenuptial agreement or if Zuckerberg was looking to clarify his net worth (estimated at $17 billion), according to The New York Times. Regardless of the actual reasons for the timing of the wedding, matrimonial law experts are clear that whatever the Facebook founder earned before marriage is still his property afterward.
The state of California follows community property laws, which specifically outline how property is divided between two spouses in the event of a divorce, and the general rule states that anything that was a spouse’s property before marriage is considered separate. This “property” can include things like dividends from previously owned stock or rent collected from an income-producing property owned before marriage. After a pair is married, anything either spouse acquires or earns is considered community property.
In regards to Zuckerberg’s union, the main question is whether or not his wife Priscilla Chan would be entitled to the growth in value of his Facebook stock. The Facebook auteur has a number of assets to protect, and typically his previously owned stock would remain separate property in a divorce. However, the fact that Zuckerberg’s job contributes to the growth of the site and likely the value of the stocks, “the fruits of the efforts may accrue to the community,” according to the head of family law at a San Francisco-based law firm. The attorney asserts that Mrs. Chan would likely be allocated some portion of the growth by a court.
At this time, it is unknown whether or not the newly married twosome created and signed a prenuptial agreement, as it is not required to make such an agreement public, or whether she received any shares of Facebook in her name before the two married.
The matter of the division of assets in a divorce can be quite complicated as a state’s laws may leave gray areas and unanswered questions for a divorcing couple. If you are in need of assistance with your divorce, experienced Pennsylvania property division lawyer Sheryl R. Rentz can help ensure your rights are protected and make certain an amicable, prompt resolution is reached that is satisfactory to all parties. To discuss your case, call our offices at (610) 645-0100 to schedule a complimentary consultation.