How Much Does It Cost to Get a Prenup?
When you're planning a wedding to the love of your life, there's one topic you'd probably prefer to avoid — divorce. However, agreeing on how to divide your assets by creating a prenuptial agreement can help protect your financial interests if things don't go according to plan.
Hiring a prenup lawyer isn't cheap, but it could potentially save you a lot of money (not to mention a lot of stress) if you ever wish to enforce your agreement.
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Where you live affects how much it costs to draw up a prenuptial agreement. Prenup attorneys often charge significantly more in major cities. Generally, the higher the cost of living in your area, the more you'll pay for your prenup. Some states also require each partner to review the drafted agreement with their own lawyer, making the process pricier.
The quality and reputation of your lawyer can also affect how much you pay in legal costs, and it's usually wise to consult an attorney with expertise in drawing up prenups in your state. Requirements vary widely by area, so a prenup drawn up by a non-expert may not hold water should you ever wish to enforce it. Therefore, buying a DIY prenup kit is not usually a good idea, as it may not be enforceable. Hiring an expert can often be cheaper overall because they understand the process in detail, reducing the time it takes to finalize the agreement.
Most prenup attorneys charge by the hour, so creating your prenup could prove expensive if you and your partner can't quickly agree on the terms. For example, haggling with your partner over potentially contentious issues, such as alimony arrangements, can make the process more time-consuming and expensive.
Finally, the complexity of your circumstances can also affect how much your prenup costs. For example, business owners will need to work out how to protect their interests if they divorce. These situations can be challenging for attorneys to tackle, as they usually need to spend longer periods in consultation with their clients to anticipate potential problems. Therefore, complex prenups tend to require more hours with a lawyer and cost more.
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Whether a prenup is worth the money depends on your financial circumstances and whether you and your spouse can agree on terms if you decide to divorce. Generally, a high-quality, enforceable prenup makes divorcing less contentious because you've already decided how to divide your assets. Therefore, you'll often require fewer hours with a divorce lawyer. On average, divorce lawyers charge $250 per hour, so the potential savings can be significant.
However, saving money on the upfront costs of divorce isn't the only way a prenup can protect your finances. A prenuptial agreement can prevent you from remaining responsible for your partner's debts following a split. However, bear in mind that some states consider any debts accrued during the marriage "community property," which means you're equally responsible for repaying them when you divorce — even if your prenup states otherwise.
Prenups can also affect what happens to property if one spouse passes away. This helps protect the financial interests of your family members and may be especially useful if either of you has children from an earlier relationship. Your prenuptial agreement can stipulate who should inherit what if you split up, ensuring that your children don't miss out on any assets you wish them to have.
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