How much does a prenuptial agreement cost in Massachusetts? This a common question asked by Massachusetts couples who are planning to get married. Let’s explore this question and review some general information about prenuptial agreements and how they work.
How Much Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cost in Massachusetts?
Prenuptial agreements, sometimes referred to as antenuptial agreements or abbreviated to “prenups”, are legally binding contracts executed by a couple before they get married. The prenup dictates how the couple will divide assets if they divorce, provides life insurance and beneficiary information in case a spouse dies, and can even include terms about how the couple will handle finances while married.
To be enforceable in court, a prenup must follow state laws and include specific information. For this reason, it is common for a couple to consult with a lawyer to draft or review their prenup.
If you are wondering how much a prenuptial agreement cost, you are not alone. While this number can vary, according to ContractsCounsel's marketplace data, the average cost of a prenuptial agreement in Massachusetts is $1,066.67.
Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, the courts follow a rule called “equitable distribution”. This means that in a divorce all marital assets are subject to distribution in a way that the court deems equitable. 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 employability when making these crucial decisions. For example, if one spouse purchases a home, keeps the home in their name, and the other spouse made zero contributions to the price, this is still a marital asset subject to equitable distribution.
Without a properly executed prenuptial agreement, spouses who cannot come to an agreement in divorce court will be subject to state laws and their assets will be divided as the court sees fit. A prenup allows couples to take control of their financial futures and make a plan that works for them before they reach this point in court.
It is important to note that prenuptial agreements aren’t just used to divide property after a divorce. The following list includes additional benefits of a prenup:
- Protection of assets
- Protection of inheritance or trusts
- Protection of a family business or individual business interests
- Reduce costly litigation in divorce court
- Provide for children from a previous relationship
- Ensure that a spouse has access to life insurance benefits in the event of a death
- Lay out how finances will be handled throughout the marriage
What's Typically Included in a Massachusetts Prenuptial Agreement
By law, prenuptial agreements can only cover certain terms. For example, a prenup can waive or set an amount and duration for alimony, however it cannot dictate child support or child custody.
Most prenuptial agreements include the following information and terms:
- Premarital assets. A list of the assets each person had before entering the marriage.
- Premarital debts. A list of each person’s debts prior to the marriage
- Distribution of property. Terms regarding how the couple’s future marital assets and debts will be divided if they divorce.
- Right to alimony. Whether spousal support will be paid by one spouse to the other.
- Life insurance. If each spouse is required to carry a life insurance policy and what happens to policy in death or divorce
- Wills. Whether each party is required to have a will that carries out the terms of the prenuptial agreement
- Governing Law. Which state’s laws will govern the prenup
Are Prenups Enforceable in Massachusetts?
Yes. Prenups are enforceable in Massachusetts if the contract meets specific requirements. The prenup must be in writing and it must be signed by both parties. Massachusetts courts use what they call a “two-look” test to determine whether to enforce a prenup in a divorce. This means that the judge will decide if the prenup was fair when it was drafted and if it is still fair at the time of the divorce. Courts want to ensure that neither party is left impoverished or unable to survive due to the terms of the prenuptial agreement.
Terms that will not be enforceable in a Massachusetts prenuptial agreement include:
- Any illegal provisions that violate criminal codes
- Provisions that dictate child support or custody
- “Lifestyle” clauses
A lifestyle clause is a clause that limits a spouse’s right to alimony or property if they violate the clause by taking certain actions like cheating or gaining weight.
Prenuptial Agreement Drafting in Massachusetts
Hiring an attorney to draft a prenup is recommended because a lawyer will be familiar with Massachusetts contract law and will ensure that the prenup can be held up in court and is legally enforceable.
Before drafting a prenuptial 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.
Prenuptial Agreement Review in Massachusetts
Prenuptial agreement review is a very common practice because many spouses hire separate attorneys when executing a prenup. This means that one spouses 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.
Massachusetts Prenuptial Agreement Drafting Cost
When hiring a lawyer to draft their prenuptial 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 prenuptial agreement drafting costs in Massachusetts are $1,400.00.
Massachusetts Prenuptial Agreement Review Cost
Hiring an attorney to review a prenuptial 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 prenuptial agreement review costs in Massachusetts are $400.00.
How Do Massachusetts Lawyers Charge for a Prenuptial Agreement?
Hourly Rates for Prenuptial 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 prenup.
The marketplace data for ContractsCounsel shows the average hourly rate for a family lawyer in Massachusetts ranges from $200 - $350 per hour.
Flat Fee Rates for Prenuptial Agreements
Flat fee rates are commonly used when a lawyer is hired for a specific task like drafting or reviewing a prenuptial 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 prenuptial agreement in Massachusetts is $1,066.67.
Get Help with a Massachusetts Prenuptial Agreement
Do you need help with a prenuptial 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.