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Zuckerberg's marriage perfectly timed, say divorce lawyers

According to some divorce attorneys, apparently the time to get married is AFTER you become one of the richest people in the world. A recent report about Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg's recent nuptials addresses why his marriage may have been timed to take place after he took his company public. Although there is no report of a prenuptial agreement between the couple, Mr. Zuckerberg's recent fortunes should be mostly protected.

The reason the social media mogul, who is now estimated to be worth roughly $20 billion dollars, is protected is because the state in which he was married is a community property state, unlike the state of Missouri. What that means is; should the Zuckerberg's find themselves filing for divorce, their community or marital property would be equally divided between them. Community property is any property or assets earned during the marriage.

Separate property is that earned prior to the marriage ceremony, so, the billions Mr. Zuckerberg made in taking Facebook public was clearly earned prior to the marriage, thus not to be considered as marital property. What this also encompasses, is that any boost in stock held by Mr. Zuckerberg will remain separate property, unless he chooses to combine it with other assets held by the couple. For example, if he deposits some of the money into a joint account, it becomes community property.

On the other hand, the Facebook stock options that Mr. Zuckerberg holds are a different story entirely. Since he only exercised half of his 120 million stock options when the company went public, the other 60 million are considered community property. When or if he should choose to exercise those options, whatever is earned from them would be considered a community property, and thus subject to equitable distribution should the couple divorce.

Now if there is a prenuptial agreement, which is in all likeliness the case, all bets are off. A prenuptial agreement might not be the most romantic aspect of joining two lives together in blissful matrimony, but it is actually the best time to create one. When a couple is in the beginning stages of a long-term relationship and hopeful for a life together is when you are most likely to agree on such details as who should get what in the event the marriage doesn't work out.

Source: KVIA ABC 7, "Where Zuckerberg Would Be Without A Prenup," Jessica Dickler, May 22, 2012

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