Mark Zuckerberg is having a banner week. On Friday, he became a billionaire with Facebook’s IPO and on Saturday he tied the knot with longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan. The couple hasn’t said whether or not they signed a prenup, but because of Zuckerberg’s timing and where he lives that may be relatively unimportant.
The reason: There are eight “community property states” and California just happens to be one of them.
According to Legalzoom, in a community property state like California, “spouses own- and owe- everything equally, regardless of who earns or spends the income.” However, this only applies to assets acquired during the marriage. If the couple eventually splits, all the profits Zuckerberg made during the IPO would remain his.
There are complications, however, as CNN Money’s Jessica Dickler points out: “Although he already exercised 60 million of his 120 million stock options in conjunction with the IPO, he is still sitting on the other 60 million.”
A stock option isn’t the same as owning a share of a company—it’s only a contract to the right to buy or sell a certain number of shares at a fixed price. As Steve Mindel, a managing partner at Feinberg, Mindel, Brandt and Klein LLP, pointed out, ordinarily, the stock he owned going into the marriage would remain his, but that becomes a much more complicated issue when you work for the company whose stock you own.
Of course, these technicalities won’t matter if the couple signed a prenup.
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