After news broke Saturday that Mark Zuckerberg wed longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan in a quiet backyard ceremony just a day after the Facebook CEO took his company public to the tune of $104 billion, it has quickly become the status update everyone wants to know: did the couple sign a pre-nuptial agreement before taking their vows?
At least one fellow billionaire hopes so. That would be Donald Trump, who presciently told CNBC on Friday that, in the event the couple were to wed, Zuckerberg definitely needs to protect his considerable assets.
“So he’s gonna be worth like $18, $19 billion, you’re telling me he’s got a girlfriend, does he get a prenuptial agreement? They get married, and then for some reason over the next couple of years they get divorced and then she sues him for $10 billion and she hits the jackpot … I’m notoriously cheap with these things, I think if she made $1 million, that would be very good,” advised the three-times married Trump.
A spokesperson for Facebook declined to comment on whether the couple had signed any kind of “pre-nup”, according to Reuters, but did confirm that the couple had been planning their surprise wedding ceremony for at least five months, ample time to come up with a mutually agreeable “in case of divorce” contract.
But what if they don’t have a pre-nup? Under California law, the billions Mark made on Friday would probably still be off the table, since he made this money before their wedding (even if it was just hours before). With a 28 percent stake in Facebook, Mr. Zuckerberg’s worth now stands at more than $19 billion.
And what if the couple lived in New Jersey? Under New Jersey’s “equitable distribution” statute, only assets acquired during the marriage are considered to be part of the marital estate. This time period is considered to begin on the day the marriage ceremony took place — and ends the day the divorce complaint is filed. When it comes to defining marital property vs. separate property, certain assets acquired “in contemplation of marriage,” such as one person buying a house for the couple to live in after getting married, may also be subject to division.
If they did sign a pre-nup, the good news for Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan is that it certainly didn’t spoil the romance of the day. As Reuters reports, 100 guests — all close friends and family — believed they were invited to a graduation party for Chan, who graduated from medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, on May 14. Upon arriving, they learned they were actually attending a wedding. After the nuptials, guests dined on sushi, were serenaded by Green Day’s Billie Jo Armstrong, and were even treated to chocolate mice from L.A. Burdick, a sweet the couple had on their first date back in 2004 while both attended Harvard University.
Pre-nup or no pre-nup, what’s not to “like” about this? Congratulations, Mark and Priscilla!
– Zuckerberg weds longtime girlfriend, no word on prenup
– Should Facebook’s Zuckerberg Get a Pre-Nup?