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Did Mark Zuckerberg sign a prenuptial agreement?

It was a big weekend for Mark Zuckerberg.

On Friday, his social networking website Facebook had its initial public offering (IPO), with Zuckerberg retaining an estimated $20 billion in Facebook shares. On Saturday, he and his longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, were married in a simple backyard ceremony.

Now, the events have led many to speculate on the IPO and the wedding; specifically, the timing of the two events and whether Zuckerberg and Chan signed a prenuptial agreement prior to tying the knot. Although a Facebook spokeswoman has refused to comment on the existence (or lack thereof) of a prenup, it seems inconceivable that Zuckerberg would have married without one. But if there was no prenup and if the marriage one day ends, the timing of the wedding may actually make the divorce process easier.

This, analysts say, is because of the IPO. Very rarely can a company be specifically and accurately valued for the purposes of a divorce. But because Facebook went public just the day before the wedding, the value of the company at the time of the marriage will be relatively easy to determine and divide.

That does not mean that dividing up Facebook in divorce would be easy, of course. But legal analysts say that Zuckerberg is better off now than if the couple had split after living together for several years without marrying. If that happened, Chan could conceivably have a claim for a much larger portion of Zuckerberg’s assets, including a big chunk of Facebook and its stock.

Source: Reuters, “Zuckerberg’s post-IPO wedding is smart legal move,” May 20, 2012

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