Whether you need to protect all of that precious farmland, those horses, or the ranch passed down from your grandmother, getting a prenup in the beautiful state of Montana is always a good thing to consider. However, where do you begin? We totally get why it would feel intimidating to get started on the prenup process. Do you need a lawyer? How can you find one? What do they do? What is required of a Montana prenup? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Grab your cowboy boots and let’s dive into all things prenups in Big Sky Country!
Do I need a lawyer in Montana for a prenup agreement?
The answer is technically no, a lawyer is not required for a valid and enforceable agreement in Montana. However, it may become a factor when a court is considering whether or not a prenup is enforceable. For example, a court may look at whether or not the parties had a lawyer as one aspect, along with all of the other facts of the situation. Let’s look at a real Montana case where it touches on this topic. In Wilkes v. Est. of Wilkes, a 62-year old man (in poor health) presented a prenup to his 21-year old, developmentally delayed girlfriend. The prenup disavowed her of any of his property. His attorney explained the pertinent parts of the agreement. The attorney testified that she was competent during this time when she signed. In other words, the wife did not have her own attorney. The court said this was an enforceable agreement. Just because she didn’t have her own attorney and was developmentally disabled doesn’t mean it is unconscionable and therefore unenforceable. Wilkes v. Est. of Wilkes, 27 P.3d 433 (2001).
The benefits of hiring a prenup lawyer in Montana
So, if you don’t technically need an attorney for a valid and enforceable prenup, why would someone pay for a lawyer? Well, there are tons of great reasons to hire a prenup lawyer. Of most importance, they can up your chances of having a solid prenup that actually holds up as opposed to writing up the agreement yourself. Now, without further ado, here are some of the top benefits of hiring a prenup lawyer:
If you’re scratching your head about the prenup process, a potential divorce with a prenup, or anything in between, your lawyer’s got your back with answers. They become your go-to source for all things tied to prenups.
If you find yourself wondering what to put into your prenup or how to tackle that financial disclosure form, your lawyer can help. They can provide counsel on what to include in your agreement based on your financial and life goals. Plus, they’ll make sure you complete the financial disclosure part accurately, along with all other legal requirements.
Write the agreement
Your prenup lawyer will write up your prenup. If your fiancé’s lawyer wrote it, then that means your lawyer will give it a thorough review known as “redlining” in the legal world. Redlining means they’ll scrutinize what your fiancé’s lawyer wrote to ensure the terms align with your interests.
If there are clauses in the agreement that you and your future spouse cannot agree on, your lawyer and their lawyer will handle it without your direct involvement. This can be a huge perk for those who find this part a bit awkward or uncomfortable.
Lawyers are adept at many things, especially navigating the legal landscape. A prenup lawyer in Montana knows the ins and outs of Montana’s prenup laws. You can typically rest assured that your prenup will check all of the legal boxes
How do I find a good Montana prenup lawyer?
Now, where do you find a good Montana prenup lawyer? The best first step we recommend you take is to ask around. Asking friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, etc., is a great way to get a hold of an excellent prenup lawyer.If you have confidence in the person who provided the recommendation, hiring the attorney they suggested, especially after they’ve already screened them for you, should be a no brainer.
Another great way to find a good prenup lawyer in Montana is to check out Montana’s bar association website. In fact, there’s a handy webpage on the Montana bar association’s website that guides you through a questionnaire, helping identify the ideal lawyer for your requirements. It takes into account the services you need, your location, and your budget range.
Finally, there’s always Google. You can search terms like “Montana prenup lawyer” or “Prenup lawyer Bozeman” or any other combination of terms. Don’t forget to check out the attorneys’ client reviews online to make sure they meet your needs and are reputable.
What are the prenup requirements in Montana?
Let’s talk about what is actually required of a valid and enforceable prenup in Montana. For starters, we know that Montana has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (the UPAA) which is a uniform guideline created for states to adopt to make prenup laws more consistent throughout the U.S. Luckily, 28 states (including Montana) have adopted some form of the UPAA. Why does this matter? Well, it aids in the uniformity across states in regards to prenup laws, so if a person ever moves to a different state, the laws remain fairly consistent state to state and reduce confusion around prenups made in other states. Now, let’s get into Montana’s prenup requirements.
The legal requirements of a prenup in Montana include:
- Putting the agreement in writing
- Making sure both parties sign the prenup
- Making sure both parties sign the agreement voluntarily
- Both parties provide fair and reasonable financial disclosure
- If a clause eliminates or modifies spousal support and the enforcement of that clause would cause one person to seek public assistance, a court may strike the clause
- For the fine print, check out Mont. Code §§ 40-2-601 to 40-2-610
Cost of a prenup lawyer in Montana
It’s hard to say exactly how much a prenup would cost you in Montana because there are so many factors that affect this price. For example, each attorney has their own set hourly fee. Not everyone will charge the same amount. (The average hourly rate for an attorney in Montana is $199/hour).
Next, the level of complexity of your finances will play a part in how much time your lawyer spends on your case. If you have a 300 page trust that your lawyer will need to read through, that’s going to cost you. Also, what you request out of your prenup will also affect the price. If you have basic requests, such as “we want to keep everything separate and waive alimony,” then it may take your lawyer less time than if you have a very unique set of needs.
All this to say–it’s unclear how much your Montana prenup will cost you. We do know that the average U.S. prenup costs about $2,500, according to an article from Business Insider. But, remember, that price can easily increase or decrease based on how expensive your lawyer is and what your needs are.
How HelloPrenup can help
HelloPrenup costs $599 per couple for a state-compliant prenup in Montana. You can get your prenup done and dusted on the same day that you sign up! It’s that easy. All you have to do is create an account, invite your partner, and complete the questionnaire. You each will need to complete your own questionnaires, so our platform can take into account each of your preferences and information. Then, you move on to negotiations. There, you and your partner will work through any discrepancies in your prenup goals. All that’s left? Download the agreement, sign, and notarize it! Bam! You’ve got yourself a prenup, all without the hassle!
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]