Massachusetts Postnuptial Agreement Cost

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How much does a postnuptial agreement cost in Massachusetts? This is a common question asked by married couples living in Massachusetts. Let’s explore this question and review some general information about postnuptial agreements and how they work.

How Much Does a Postnuptial Agreement Cost in Massachusetts?

Postnuptial agreements, sometimes referred to as post marital agreements or simply a marital agreement, are legally binding contracts executed by a couple after entering a marriage. Similar to a prenuptial agreement which is signed before marriage, a postnuptial agreement dictates how the couple will divide assets and liabilities if they divorce or one spouse dies.

To be enforceable in divorce court in Massachusetts, all marital agreements must follow state laws and meet certain requirements. For this reason, it is common for a couple to consult with a lawyer to draft or review their postnuptial agreement.

If you are wondering how much it costs to have a postnuptial agreement drafted or reviewed by an attorney, you are not alone. While this number can vary, according to ContractsCounsel's marketplace data, the average cost of a postnuptial agreement in Massachusetts is $875.00.

Do I Need a Postnuptial Agreement in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, divorce courts follow the property division rule of equitable distribution. This means that in a divorce all marital assets are subject to distribution in a way that the court deems equitable.

It is important to note that equitable does not mean equal. Courts will look at factors like the length of the marriage, the contribution and roles of each spouse, and each spouse’s earning potential and other factors when making these important financial decisions.

For example, if one spouse owns a home prior to the marriage but uses marital funds to make improvements to the home, this home may now be considered marital property under Massachusetts law. That means that it could be distributed to either spouse in a divorce despite one spouse owning it prior to the marriage.

When a couple has a properly executed postnuptial agreement, all tough financial decisions are already made before going to court, and their property will not be subject to state property distribution laws.

What's Typically Included in a Massachusetts Postnuptial Agreement

Under Massachusetts law, postnuptial agreements can only dictate certain financial issues. For example, a marital agreement can waive or set an amount and duration for spousal support, but it cannot dictate child support or child custody.

Most postnuptial agreements in Massachusetts include the following provisions:

  • Property division. How assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce, separation or death. Assets can include real estate, investments, bank accounts, and other types of property obtained both before and after the marriage.
  • Spousal support. Provisions outlining how much spousal support one spouse is entitled to receive including the amount and duration of payments.
  • Business interests. If either spouse owns a business (either established before or during the marriage) a postnuptial agreement can outline how the business will be valued and divided in the event of a divorce.
  • Inheritance and gifts. How inheritance and gifts will be treated in divorce proceedings including who will receive the inheritance or gift and how it will be divided. This is especially important if either spouse has children from a previous marriage.
  • Retirement accounts. Provisions for how retirement accounts, like 401(k)s and IRAs, will be divided in a divorce or separation.
  • Life Insurance. Terms specifying who will be the beneficiary of a life insurance policy in the event of a divorce or separation.

Are Postnuptial Enforceable in Massachusetts?

Yes. Postnuptial agreements are enforceable in Massachusetts if the contract meets specific requirements laid out by Massachusetts laws.

Five factors that are often considered when deciding whether to enforce a postnuptial agreement in divorce court include:

  1. Whether each party had the opportunity to consult with their own lawyers.
  2. Whether there was any fraud or coercion involved when signing the agreement.
  3. Whether there was a full disclosure of each spouse's assets and liabilities.
  4. Whether each spouse knowingly and voluntarily waived their rights to the equitable division of assets under state law
  5. Whether the terms of the agreement were fair and reasonable at the time of the execution of the contract and whether the terms are still fair and reasonable at the time of the divorce proceedings.

In addition, all marital agreements must be made in writing and signed by both parties. It is also encouraged that each party consult with their own attorney before entering into this contract. While it is legal for one attorney to prepare the agreement for the spouses, consulting with your own lawyer can help ensure your interests are protected.

Postnuptial Agreement Drafting in Massachusetts

Hiring an attorney to draft a postnuptial agreement is recommended because a lawyer will be familiar with Massachusetts contract law and will ensure that the agreement will be held up in court and is legally enforceable.

Before drafting a postnuptial agreement, the lawyer will consult with the couple to learn about their assets, debts, and future plans. The attorney will then draft an agreement that implements these terms.

Postnuptial Agreement Review in Massachusetts

Postnuptial agreement review is a very common practice because many spouses hire separate attorneys when executing a marital contract. This means that one spouse’s attorney will draft the agreement, and the other spouse’s attorney will review it.

The reviewing attorney will read through the agreement to ensure that it is fair, their client fully understands the terms and conditions, and the agreement has their clients’ best interests in mind.

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Massachusetts Postnuptial Agreement Drafting Cost

When hiring a lawyer to draft a postnuptial agreement, you can expect to incur legal fees because drafting a contract of any kind requires the time and legal expertise of a licensed lawyer.

According to ContractsCounsel's marketplace data, the average postnuptial agreement drafting costs in Massachusetts are $1,400.00.

Massachusetts Postnuptial Agreement Review Cost

Hiring an attorney to review a postnuptial agreement will also come with legal fees. Even though the attorney isn’t drafting the document, they will still take their time reading over the contract and advising their client about the contents.

ContractsCounsel's marketplace data shows the average postnuptial agreement review costs in Massachusetts are $350.00.

How Do Massachusetts Lawyers Charge for a Postnuptial Agreement?

Hourly Rates for Postnuptial Agreements

Family law attorneys in Massachusetts typically charge their clients an hourly rate. With this fee agreement, a lawyer will bill a client at a set hourly rate for time spent working on drafting the legal project.

The marketplace data for ContractsCounsel shows the average hourly rate for a family lawyer in Massachusetts ranges from $200 - $300 per hour.

Flat Fee Rates for Postnuptial Agreements

Flat fee rates are commonly used when a lawyer is hired for a specific task like drafting or reviewing a postnuptial agreement. In a flat fee payment structure, an attorney will charge the client a flat fee price for the entire legal project.

ContractsCounsel's marketplace data shows the average flat fee rate for a postnuptial agreement in Massachusetts is $875.00.

Get Help with a Massachusetts Postnuptial Agreement

Do you need help with a postnuptial agreement project? If so, post a project in ContractsCounsel's marketplace to receive flat fee bids from family lawyers who are licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and can handle your project. All lawyers on the ContractsCounsel's platform are vetted by our team to make sure you are provided with top-tier service.

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