Zuckerberg's Marriage Smart Legal Move. Prenup Would've Been Smarter

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 21, 2012 12:35 PM

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wed longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan on Saturday in a small surprise wedding in the couple's Palo Alto backyard. Together for nine years, the day capped off a big week -- Chan's graduation from medical school, Zuckerberg's birthday and the Facebook IPO.

Though there's no indication that the Zuckerberg wedding had anything to do with the IPO, its timing couldn't have been better. At least if the pair ever decide to divorce.

Now, we've known for a while that Mark Zuckerberg is worth billions. But with Facebook being a private company and an IPO looming somewhere in the future, it was difficult to pin down his exact worth. 

Well, it's much easier to place a value on his Facebook shares now that the company has gone public.

This is particularly useful knowledge if the Zuckerberg wedding was preceded by a prenuptial agreement. It would have helped establish exactly how the pair plans to split their assets in the event of a divorce.

And even if there was no prenuptial agreement, a post-IPO wedding still takes some of the mess out of a potential divorce. California is a community property state, which means everything earned during the marriage belongs to both partners. This includes any increases in value to pre-marriage property that are the result of a partner's labor.

By marrying after the IPO, it's easier to determine the worth of Zuckerberg's stock at the beginning and end of marriage. It's also more difficult to claim that any increase is the result of his labor, attorney Robert Blevans told Reuters. Now that the company is public, it's hard to attribute growth to one individual.

Whether or not these legal repercussions had any impact on the timing of the Zuckerberg wedding is unknown. But if they weren't, the Zuck may have just lucked out.

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