Hiring a prenup lawyer to help you write and negotiate your prenuptial agreement can protect your interests and ensure your prenup holds up in court. It is important that through the duration of your marriage the prenup can stand the test of time. By law, some states even require it and understanding family law can go a long way as to determine if you need a lawyer.
You can find DIY prenuptial agreements online, and they can be a good place to start. But even if you and your spouse-to-be agree on all the terms, it may not be a good idea to completely forgo legal advice. Once you are married it is nearly impossible to revise an already created document.
For one thing, there are several terms you can’t include in a prenuptial agreement. State laws regulate this and, although they tend to be similar, the specifics can vary. You can research this yourself, but a prenup lawyer can help make sure you don’t miss anything. Think of your marriage as somewhat of a business, there are certain contracts that can make a dissolution easier on all parties.
Also, some states require by law that at least one lawyer be involved. A few even require each person have a lawyer to ensure the agreement is fair to you both previous to your marriage (if it is a premarital agreement) and to answer any imminent questions. If your state is one of these, your prenup will only be valid if you’ve had appropriate legal representation. It is your right to have a lawyer for each party if desired, no matter what your future spouse may say.
Even in states that don’t require using a prenup lawyer, the judge may look less favorably on an agreement made without one. He or she may look at it more closely and may find some or all of it invalid.
Prenup costs will vary based on factors specific to your case:
The more complicated your holdings, or the more negotiating you need to do, the longer it’s likely to take. And, of course, the more it will cost. Contact a lawyer who can help you untangle the intricacies of your assets so that if a divorce is necessary, the prenup will stand the test of time.
Attorney fees also vary by location and the lawyer’s experience. In general, expect to pay between $800 to $2500 for a solid prenup. Many family lawyers offer a free consultation and asking for attorneys who offer this is nothing to be ashamed of. Taking advantage of this lets you do 2 things:
Even at the higher end, the cost can be worth it to know that your premarital prenup is likely to hold up in court should you ever end up in a divorce. Many married couples have avoided unnecessary family conflict by using a prenup.
If you’re worried about the prenup cost and would prefer to write it yourself, you can start with a DIY form then have your lawyer review your prenup. This should take much less of the lawyers’ time and cost less overall.
If both lawyers agree it looks fair you can sign it with confidence. If one or both finds problems, you can negotiate terms with your spouse. Understanding collaborative law and its involvement in drafting a prenuptial agreement can help you to make a stronger document from the start.
How much money this option may save will depend on how much revision the lawyer(s) need to do to your agreement. Even if you don’t write the prenup yourself, make sure you have a solid idea of what you want in it before hiring a lawyer. That will save some time, which will save you money.
Unless your state requires legal representation, it’s up to you whether or not to hire a premarital prenup lawyer. Just remember that using a lawyer helps ensure the deal is fair and legally enforceable.