Washington Prenuptial Agreement Cost

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How much does a Washington prenuptial agreement cost? Many couples ask this question when planning to get married in Washington. Let’s explore this question and review some general information about prenuptial agreements and how they can protect your assets.

Based on ContractsCounsel's marketplace data, the average cost of a prenuptial agreement in Washington is $650.00.

How Much Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cost in Washington?

Prenuptial agreements, often referred to as “prenups”, are legally binding contracts executed by couples before getting married. While prenups can cover various issues, the primary purpose of a prenup is to lay out how couples will handle financial issues, like asset division, in the event they divorce.

Many couples choose to hire a family law attorney who is familiar with prenuptial agreements to draft their contract. An experienced lawyer will know what issues should be covered in a prenup and how to ensure that the agreement will be upheld in a divorce court if it is ever needed.

Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement in Washington?

Anyone who doesn’t want to leave the decision of property distribution up to a divorce judge should consider executing a prenuptial agreement before marriage. When a couple gets married, their property is categorized into either separate property or marital property. Separate property is the assets and debts each person had before the marriage, and marital property is any assets and debts the couple acquires together. If the couple gets divorced, this property needs to be distributed. If a couple doesn’t have a prenup and can’t come to an agreement during the divorce, property division is left up to the courts.

Washington has very unique property division laws. The state is classified as a community property state which usually means that all marital property is split 50/50 regardless of each spouse’s contributions. Washington law, however; grants a judge the power to engage in equitable distribution. This means the judge can look at different factors of the relationship and split property in a way that is fair, not necessarily equal. Typically, separate property always goes back to the original owner, but in Washington, a judge can actually distribute separate property too, as long as it is fair.

Washington, more than any other state, grants the courts a lot of power in property division. This should further incentivize couples executing prenuptial agreements. A valid prenup is a great tool to maintain control over your financial future in a divorce.

What's Typically Included in a Washington Prenuptial Agreement

Prenups can cover a wide range of topics. For the most part, as long as the clause doesn’t encourage criminal conduct or violate public policy, it can be included in the agreement.

It is common to see the following issues addressed in a prenup:

  1. Separate property. A list of each spouses separate property before the marriage and whether this property will remain separate or become communal. For example, if one spouse owns a house prior to marriage, they can decide whether to keep the house as separate property or give their new spouse rights to it and call it marital property.
  2. Marital property. The prenup should determine how marital property will be addressed. Will all assets acquired automatically be marital property or will the person who purchased it maintain rights to it?
  3. Spousal support. Also called alimony, spousal support is financial support given by one spouse to the other after divorce. A prenup can waive the right to support or place limits on it.
  4. Debt. The prenup should address how debt it handled. This includes debt that was brought into the marriage and debt that is acquired together.
  5. Inheritance and gifts. If one spouse foresees acquiring a substantial inheritance, they should put stipulations regarding the inheritance in their prenup. This is also important for spouses with children from previous relationships. A prenup can be used to ensure that a child has rights to their parent’s assets if they die.
  6. Pet clause. Many people think that pets are treated as children and “custody” should be determined by the pet’s best interest. Unfortunately, in the eyes of the state, pets are property. Including a pet in a prenup can protect your rights to that pet.
  7. Social media clause. Social media clauses are very new additions to prenups but serve a very important purpose. This clause can be used to prevent spouses from posting disparaging information about each other during a divorce.

Most states do not allow prenups to cover child custody or child support issues, but Washington has taken a unique stance on this matter. In Washington, you can include an agreement regarding child support and custody in your prenup. As long as the prenup remains unchallenged in the divorce, the agreed upon terms will hold up and can be self-enforced. If there is any challenge to the terms, then the judge will decide child custody and support issues separate from the rest of the agreement.

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Prenuptial Agreement Drafting in Washington

It is strongly encouraged for couples to hire an experienced lawyer to draft a prenuptial agreement. Only a licensed attorney will be familiar with Washington laws and can create a prenuptial agreement that will stand up in court.

Before drafting a prenup, lawyers will typically consult with the couple to learn about their financial situations and goals. Once all information is acquired, the lawyer can draft a comprehensive and legally enforceable prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial Agreement Review in Washington

Some couples attempt to use a prenup template to draft their agreement. While there is nothing legally wrong with this approach, many prenup templates will fail to stand up to a judge’s scrutiny in divorce court. For this reason, any couple attempting to draft their own prenup should have it reviewed before signing it.

An attorney can go over the contract to ensure that it is free from mistakes and adheres to Washington state laws.

Washington Prenuptial Agreement Drafting Cost

Hiring an attorney to draft a prenuptial agreement will come with legal fees. Drafting contracts requires the time and legal skill of a licensed lawyer.

According to ContractsCounsel's marketplace data, the average prenuptial agreement drafting costs in Washington are $750.00.

Washington Prenuptial Agreement Review Cost

Document review services will also come with legal fees. The lawyer will take their time going of the contract and making edits as necessary.

ContractsCounsel's marketplace data shows the average prenuptial agreement review costs in Washington are $550.00.

How Do Washington Lawyers Charge for a Prenuptial Agreement?

Hourly Rates for Prenuptial Agreements

Hourly rate fee structures are one of the most common ways that lawyers bill their clients. Under this fee agreement, the lawyer will charge a client a set hourly rate for time spent working on the legal task.

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

Flat Fee Rates for Prenuptial Agreements

Flat fee rates are becoming more popular for contract projects like drafting and review services. Instead of charging on an hourly basis, the lawyer will estimate the amount of time a project will take then quote the client a flat fee to be paid upfront.

ContractsCounsel's marketplace data shows the average flat fee rate for a prenuptial agreement in Washington is $650.00.

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