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Some suggest Zuckerberg and his wife have a prenuptial agreement

Many Florida residents have likely followed Facebook Corp.'s initial public offering and subsequent market fluctuations with great interest. But the Facebook story contains information that goes beyond the world of finance and stretches into topics like family law. The day after the company's IPO, CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a surprise wedding where he married his longtime girlfriend.

Zuckerberg's burgeoning net worth, which currently stands in the neighborhood of $17 billion, has led some to wonder whether he and his wife entered into a prenuptial agreement before they tied the knot. Such agreements are not a matter of public record, and both sides are keeping mum on the issue. But a number of divorce lawyers indicated that the young couple likely has one.

Prenuptial agreements can be particularly helpful in a number of situations, including where there is a significant disparity in assets or income between the spouses. But the agreement's benefits do not redound to the wealthy spouse alone. While prenuptial agreements can help protect assets in the event of a divorce, the other spouse may be able to use the negotiating process to gather information on the total property held by the couple.

Entering into a prenuptial agreement is not necessarily a sign of pessimism about the marriage's prospects. On the contrary, a marriage can be a complicated financial arrangement, and understanding each other's assets and debts before marriage can be a beneficial planning tool if the marriage happens to end in divorce. Preparing for future possibilities, even unpleasant ones, is important, and Florida couples may want to consider the protection offered by a prenuptial agreement before they marry.

Source: The New York Times, "Zuckerberg's Property Status, Post-Marriage," Tara Siegel Bernard, May 21, 2012.

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