“Picture this: You’ve found the peanut butter to your jelly, the cheese to your macaroni, and now you’re ready to take the ultimate plunge into wedded bliss in the great state of Pennsylvania. But wait, before you dive headfirst into the world of marriage, there’s one document that might just be your knight in shining armor – the ‘Prenup in Pennsylvania’!
Before we get too far, the first thing that comes to mind is…do I even need an attorney? And if so…how do I find an attorney? How much is it going to cost? What is the process like? Help!
Don’t fret; We’ve gone the extra mile to get the inside scoop straight from the source – a seasoned attorney in the heart of the Keystone State. So, if you’ve ever wondered what prenuptial agreements are all about and how they work in Pennsylvania, grab a seat, and let’s dive in!
How to find a Prenup Attorney in Pennsylvania?
In the land of Liberty Bells and more legal jargon than you can shake a gavel at, finding the perfect attorney in Pennsylvania can feel like discovering the secret ingredient in a Philly Cheesesteak recipe. It’s a bit of a quest, but fear not, for the Keystone State is brimming with legal eagles ready to swoop in and champion your cause.
One of those legal eagles himself, Gregory Gilston, a family and estate planning attorney in the Greater Philadelphia area gives us some advice:
“There are many ways to locate an ethical, reasonably priced, and reliable prenuptial agreement attorney in PA. The best referral source would be from a trusted friend or family member who has worked with a given attorney in the past, and who can attest to that attorney’s reputation and process. If you do not know anybody who has used an attorney for the prenuptial agreement process in the past, you can contact the state or local bar association’s referral services to receive a list of qualified professionals who can help. Google, Avvo, and Martindale are also some websites where you can search for and review attorneys who handle prenuptial agreements. Be sure to read the attorney’s reviews before reaching out. If you would not order dinner from a restaurant with no reviews or bad reviews online, then you should think twice before working with an attorney who has no reviews or bad reviews online.” Gregory Gilston, Pennsylvania Prenuptial Agreement Attorney.
So with the help of Gregory’s expertise, we have put together an easy step-by-step guide on how to find a prenup attorney in Pennsylvania:
1. Phone a friend
You’re probably not the first in your group of friends to get married…so start there! Use your network to find an attorney in Pennsylvania who may have done a phenomenal job for your friend or family member. You’ll be surprised to find that prenups are more common than you think and more and more couples are choosing to engage a prenuptial attorney before marriage.
2. Do your research and always read the reviews!
Like many other things in our lives, we will likely use good old friend Google and start typing “Prenup Attorneys in Pennsylvania” or “Best Prenup Lawyer in Pennsylvania” into our search bar – but when you do, be smart and look at the reviews! This is no different (and much more critical) than finding the best soft pretzel shop. Reputable attorneys in Pennsylvania will have multiple reviews on Google and can also be found on professional websites like Avvo. Read through the reviews! What are their clients saying about them? Do they have over 100 reviews or just 5? All of this is important in finding the right attorney for you.
3. Pennsylvania Bar Association
The Pennsylvania Bar Association website has a lawyer referral service to help you find the right person for the job. It’s easy to submit the request online and it states that the initial 30-minute consultation won’t cost more than $30. Worth it! Since you will be disclosing important information and talking with the attorney about sometimes awkward topics it is crucial that you feel comfortable with the attorney you choose!
4. Check the attorney’s website
When you do find an attorney in Pennsylvania, look at their website to be sure that they can assist with the drafting of the prenup. Just because an attorney focuses on family law and divorce, will not necessarily mean that they assist with prenuptial agreements. After all, you probably do not want to be the guinea pig and someone’s first go at this type of contract.
5. Always schedule a consultation
Keep in mind that a lot of prenup attorneys in Pennsylvania will offer free consultations and you should absolutely take advantage of this! Compare it to hiring other wedding vendors – photographer, makeup artist, wedding planner. You want to meet them first, talk about the work they’ve done, and try them before you select them for the big day.
What is the cost of a prenup attorney in Pennsylvania?
- Complexity of the Agreement: If your financial situation is straightforward and the terms of the agreement are relatively simple, the legal fees are likely to be lower. However, if the agreement involves numerous assets, business interests, or complex provisions, it may require more time and effort from the attorney, resulting in higher costs.
- Attorney’s Experience: The level of experience and expertise of the attorney can impact the cost. Keep that in mind when looking at those multiple 5-star reviews! If you hire a highly experienced attorney or one who is highly coveted for prenups, they may charge higher hourly rates or flat fees than those who are newer to the field or who don’t do as many prenups.
- Geographic Location: Legal fees can also vary depending on where you are in Pennsylvania. Attorneys in major cities or affluent areas might charge more than those in smaller towns or rural areas due to differences in the cost of living and local market conditions.
- Negotiation Complexity: If there is significant negotiation required between you and your partner, it can increase the attorney’s billable hours, thus raising the overall cost.
- Legal Fee Structure: Attorneys in Pennsylvania may charge either hourly rates or flat fees for prenuptial agreements. Hourly rates are based on the amount of time spent on the case, while flat fees provide a fixed cost for the entire process. The fee structure chosen by the attorney can affect the overall cost.
- Additional Legal Services: In some cases, individuals may require legal representation for related matters, such as estate planning. If the attorney provides these services, they may offer package deals or discounts.
To get an accurate estimate of the cost of a prenuptial attorney in Pennsylvania, it’s advisable to schedule consultations with several attorneys, discuss your specific needs and circumstances, and request detailed fee quotes. This way, you can make an informed decision based on your budget and the complexity of your situation.
Do I need to hire an attorney to have a valid prenuptial agreement in Pennsylvania?
The short answer is no! So long as both parties entered into the agreement voluntarily and had the option of retaining an attorney if they wanted to, it is not a requirement that you hire one for your prenuptial agreement to be enforceable in Pennsylvania.
“You do not need an attorney for a valid enforceable prenuptial agreement in PA, but it is strongly advised. However, you do need to have had the opportunity to consult with an attorney before signing a prenuptial agreement in PA. This means that you must attest to and acknowledge that you had the opportunity to consult with a licensed attorney before signing, whether or not you actually end up utilizing an attorney’s services. If you do choose to utilize an attorney’s services, then that attorney’s name should be referenced within the Agreement as a consulting or retained attorney. If you choose not to utilize an attorney’s services for the prenuptial agreement process, it is best practice to waive your right to attorney’s consultation and/or assistance in writing, so that there will be no issues with validity or enforcement in the future.” Gregory Gilston, Pennsylvania Prenuptial Agreement Attorney.
So, in conclusion, consulting with an attorney before hiring them to draft your prenup in Pennsylvania is like doing a “marriage dress rehearsal.” Just as you wouldn’t walk down the aisle without a fitting or rehearsal dinner, you shouldn’t dive into marriage without consulting an attorney about a prenup. These legal maestros ensure that your prenup isn’t a courtroom drama waiting to happen but rather a well-scripted love story that protects both parties. They’ll help you navigate the tricky terrain of marital contracts, ensuring that your love boat sails smoothly even in stormy legal seas.
You are writing your life story.
Get on the same page with a prenup.
For love that lasts a lifetime, preparation is key. Safeguard your shared tomorrows, starting today.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]