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How Much Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cost?

Based on ContractsCounsel's real life marketplace data, the average cost of a prenuptial agreement is $710.00 [1]. This includes all types of prenup projects and below is some summary data to review:

Average Cost Data from Lawyers on ContractsCounsel

All Prenuptial Agreement Projects:
$710.00
Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement:
$890.00
Reviewing a Prenuptial Agreement:
$520.00

Based on 316 recent projects completed by lawyers on ContractsCounsel.

Last updated: 22 May, 2024

The above pricing is the mean from all projects across the United States when clients hire lawyers on the ContractsCounsel platform. Pricing may vary from state-to-state and project-to-project, depending on how complicated the prenup is. The above information is to serve as a reference point only and you may receive different pricing when using our marketplace.

See Prenuptial Agreement Pricing by State

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are legal contracts that couples sign before getting married that establishes an agreement about how assets and liabilities will be handled between the couple in the event of a divorce.

Prenups are surprisingly common and becoming more popular each year. This trend could be for a couple of reasons:

  1. It is more common for couples to wait to get married so they accumulate more assets before marriage.
  2. The increased prevalence of divorce in previous generations (kids watching parents getting divorced).

Getting help from a family lawyer to draft a prenuptial agreement is highly encouraged because prenups are complicated and must fit certain requirements to be legally enforceable. Prenups must include specific information, and if prepared incorrectly, the contract may not hold up in court.

What's Typically Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

Terms included in a prenuptial agreement will vary depending on the couple's personal needs, assets, liabilities, and how detailed they want the agreement to be.

Although agreements can differ significantly from couple to couple, it is common to find the following items in a prenuptial agreement:

  • Premarital assets and debts: Prenuptial agreements need to establish what assets and debts each person have before entering the marriage and how these assets and debts will be treated after the wedding. If one person owns a house before getting married, will they jointly own the home after the couple weds?
  • Marital assets and debts: Most states treat any property gained during the marriage as equally owned by both spouses. Your prenuptial agreement, however, can keep certain assets or debts you plan to accumulate separately. If one spouse plans to go back to school and accumulate student loans after the marriage, the prenup can establish that the debt is that spouse's responsibility alone.
  • Children from a previous relationship: If either spouse has children from a previous relationship, a prenup should detail how the children will be provided for and instructions for inheritances.
  • Family Property: If either spouse has family heirlooms or a family business, they can protect this asset and ensure it stays in the family by adding this as a provision in the prenuptial agreement.
  • Marital Responsibilities: Some couples will outline marital expectations in the prenuptial agreement. These expectations must be related to finances. Some examples include:
    • Who is expected to pay specific bills
    • How tax returns will be filed
    • How bank accounts will be handled
    • How investments will be handled
    • Agreements about large purchases
  • Property division in a divorce: One of the most important terms in a prenuptial agreement is how the couples’ assets will be divided if they divorce. This avoids a complicated, emotionally charged legal process after the breakdown of the relationship has already occurred.

Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements provide many benefits to couples who are entering a marriage. Some benefits include:

  • Protection for children from previous marriages
  • Comprehensive planning for the future
  • Protection from premarital debts
  • Protection for personal property
  • Avoiding a typical divorce settlement

Divorces are often long, drawn-out, emotionally charged, and expensive. Most of the fighting during a divorce occurs over assets and debts. When a premarital agreement is in place, all the decisions about property division are already made. This saves a couple from the additional stress, pain, and financial burden during an already challenging time.

Types of Prenup Projects

Drafting a New Prenup

Many couples will hire a knowledgeable family lawyer to help consult and draft a prenuptial agreement that fits their needs regarding their assets, debts, property, and family.

Prenuptial agreement drafting usually involves a consultation with the couple to learn about the assets and liabilities of everyone in the relationship, their broader family and professional situation (e.g., kids from previous marriage, whether or not they own a business, inheritance, etc.), and the terms they want to include in the agreement. The attorney will then draft the prenup that includes all of this information for the couple to review, approve, and execute. Prenuptial agreement drafting costs can vary based on how complex the prenup needs to be.

Reviewing an Existing Prenup

An individual in a relationship may want to retain their own lawyer if they are asked to sign a prenuptial agreement they weren’t involved in drafting. They may choose to do this to make sure they have a legal advocate on their behalf, to make sure the terms of the prenup are fair and legal.

Reasons you may need to find a lawyer to review a prenuptial agreement include:

  • Ensuring it meets all legal requirements
  • It is updated with all your current assets and debts
  • It will be legally enforceable in court in the event of a divorce

Reviewing a prenup can vary in costs, depending on the length and whether negotiations may take place. Most lawyers will handle reviews on a flat fee, but may charge hourly for a negotiation.

Prenuptial Agreement Disputes

Even though a prenuptial agreement is a legally enforceable contract, like all contracts, there are several ways to challenge the validity of a prenuptial agreement if there is a dispute.

Various requirements must be met to make a prenup valid. These include:

  • The agreement must be reasonable and fair
  • Both parties must sign the prenup
  • Each spouse is required to have at least seven days to review the contract before signing

Other situations that may challenge the validity of a prenuptial agreement include:

  • The prenup was signed under duress, by force, by manipulation, or out of compulsiveness
  • If either party was misrepresented
  • If either party did not have the mental ability to consent to a contract
  • If either party was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of signing

Some states require an attorney for each party when the prenup is signed to ensure both parties are equally represented. If the agreement was signed without attorneys present, it might be considered invalid.

How Much Does it Cost to Draft a Prenup?

A couple will incur legal fees if they choose to hire a lawyer to draft a prenuptial agreement. The fees account for the time of the lawyer to gather all of the correct information, draft a copy of the agreement, make any revisions, and be present during the signature if asked to do so.

According to ContractsCounsel's real marketplace data, the average prenuptial agreement drafting costs are $890.00 across all.

How Much Does it Cost to Review an Existing Prenup?

If you need a prenuptial agreement reviewed, hiring a lawyer will come with fees. Your attorney will need to speak with you about your financial, family, and professional situation and read over the prenup to analyze the terms to make sure you are protected and it is legally enforceable.

ContractsCounsel's marketplace data shows the average prenuptial agreement review costs to be $520.00 across all states.

How Do Lawyers Charge for Prenups?

Family lawyers charge for services in various ways; however, the two most popular payment structures used are hourly rates and flat fees.

Hourly Rates for Prenups

Hourly rate fee structures are the most common fee structure for family attorneys. With this fee structure, a lawyer will bill a client at a set hourly rate for working on the matter or project.

An hourly rate payment ensures that the lawyer is fairly compensated for all their time working on a client's case, and is typically a good option for when the amount of work needed is open-ended. This may be the case if a lawyer plans to negotiate on behalf of their client. However, it does create a situation for the client where they may not know the total bill until the project is finalized.

The marketplace data for ContractsCounsel shows the average hourly rate for a family lawyer ranges from $200 - $350 per hour.

Flat Fee Rates for Prenuptial Agreements

It is becoming more common to see a flat fee billing structure for contract-related projects, like drafting or reviewing a prenuptial agreement. In a flat fee payment structure, attorneys will provide a flat fee price to the client for the proposed services, which is an all-in rate.

The client usually prefers flat fee rates because they know exactly how much they will be spending for legal services. It is vital, however, that the client knows what is included in the flat fee rate.

When drafting a prenup, there is usually a meeting with the clients, and then the attorney must prepare the contract. After looking over the prenup, the clients may decide it needs revisions. In some states, the attorney may also be required to be present at the signing. It should be made clear whether the flat fee includes these extra meetings and services.

ContractsCounsel's marketplace data shows the average flat fee rate for prenuptial agreement costs to be $710.00.

Who Should Consider a Prenup?

Many people believe prenups are only for the ultra-wealthy. This is not true, and prenuptial agreements are becoming more popular as time goes on, especially in the younger generation or relating to second marriages. Prenups establish an agreement before a marriage as to what happens in the event of a divorce.

Some common reasons people consider getting a prenup are:

  • Significant Difference in Net Worth. If there is a significant difference in net worth between the individuals getting married, a prenuptial agreement will outline what happens to those assets in the event of a divorce.
  • Inheritance. If one or both members of a couple plan to inherit a significant sum of money, assets, etc., getting a prenup will set expectations to what happens with that inheritance in case there is a divorce.
  • Kids from Previous Marriage. If someone has kids from a previous marriage, a prenup may help protect these children’s inheritance by setting up rules as to what happens in the event of a divorce.
  • Own a Business. If someone owns a business in a relationship, a prenup will allow the individual to outline what happens to the business assets in the event of a divorce.

How To Get a Prenup

There are many options to explore when deciding to get a prenup. Below are some to consider:

  • Use an online legal platform. There are online legal platforms now that allow people to find and hire lawyers. ContractsCounsel is one of them and by posting a project, you will receive multiple quotes for your project from vetted lawyers to consider to save you time.
  • Google law firms. If you Google ‘ prenuptial agreement lawyer ’, there will be many results on the search page. You can go to websites of the law firms and make inquiries to get help.
  • Go to State Bar Websites. All State Bars have websites with their members. You can go to these websites and reach out to lawyers to see if they can help.
  • Ask for a Referral. You can ask your personal and professional network for a referral to a family law lawyer.

References

  1. ^ Based on real pricing data from ContractsCounsel's marketplace. Last updated 22 May, 2024.

ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.


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