Ahh, Seattle, Washington. Home of good coffee, cozy weather, and excellent hiking. If you clicked on this article, there’s a good chance you’re engaged (congrats!) and you are trying to figure out this whole prenup thing. You’ve come to the right place. Getting an ironclad prenup is like getting a cup of coffee: it ensures your future is brewed with clarity and *grounds* for a strong, lasting partnership. See what we did there? Okay, okay, enough with the bad jokes. Let’s talk about all things Seattle prenups, Seattle prenup lawyers, and everything in between.
Do I need a prenup lawyer in Seattle?
First things first: do you even need a lawyer for a prenup in Seattle, WA? The answer is technically no, but if your prenup is ever challenged, whether or not you had a lawyer may come into play as a factor of enforceability. The law in Washington basically follows a two-step test when a prenup is being challenged.
The first step of the test asks: “are the terms of the prenup fair to the person who doesn’t want it to be enforced?” If the answer to that question is “yes, it’s fair to them” then the analysis ends, and the prenup is upheld. If the answer is “no, it’s not fair to the person who doesn’t want it to be enforced” then the test continues.
In the second step of the test, a court will probe deeper into two critical aspects:
- Did both spouses receive complete financial disclosure, meaning they were fully informed about the property’s nature, amount, and value involved in the agreement?
- Was the prenup freely entered into on independent advice from counsel with full knowledge by both spouses of their rights?
If the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” then the prenup stands. However, if the answer is “no,” then the prenuptial agreement may not hold up in court. (See In Re Marriage of Bernard for the full case).
So, while you’re not legally required to have an attorney for your prenup, their expertise can play a crucial role, particularly if your agreement faces a challenge. It’s an added layer of protection that can help ensure the enforceability of your prenuptial agreement.
What do prenup lawyers do?
Let’s back it up a bit: what exactly does a prenup lawyer do? Let’s start with what they DON’T do, and that’s your divorce. Many people mistakenly believe that when you hire a prenup lawyer, you’re hiring a divorce lawyer, and it’s not true! Many prenup lawyers don’t even practice divorce at all. So, back to the question of what prenup lawyers do. For starters, prenup lawyers discuss with you. What do you want to accomplish with your prenup? They will ask you tons of questions about your finances, your prenup goals, and your partner’s goals to understand how to draft an agreement for you best. Prenup lawyers also write up your prenup agreement (surprise, surprise). They will make sure to craft it to meet your specific goals. If there are discrepancies between you and your partner about what terms should go into the agreement, then your lawyer will also handle negotiations with your partner’s lawyer. Finally, a prenup lawyer will answer any questions you may have and walk you through the finalization (signatures, notarization, saving copies of the agreement, etc.).
What are the benefits of hiring a prenup lawyer?
Like a delicious cup of cold brew, there are tons of different benefits to prenup lawyers. They give you energy, speed up your metabolism, and protect against Diabetes–oh wait, sorry, that’s coffee! Prenup lawyers have slightly different benefits than coffee. For example, hiring a prenup lawyer can provide you with peace of mind, they can provide customized clauses, and they can offer advice. We discuss these in depth below.
Prenup lawyers offer peace of mind
One thing a prenup lawyer can do for you is provide you with peace of mind. They can explain the different clauses to you, explain the what-if scenarios, and ensure that you are compliant with state laws. For example, a lawyer can explain exactly what a death clause is and how it would play out in your life in various scenarios. Or maybe they walk you through what would happen if you were ever to separate and how that process would work. They also make sure that your prenup is up-to-date on all the latest laws in your state to give you the best chances of an enforceable prenup.
Prenup lawyers can provide customized clauses
Sometimes people are looking for really unique clauses. Maybe they want to add in a clause that says something along the lines of “I want my partner to pay for my therapy if XYZ thing happens” or “If we have children, I want to be paid $1 million per child” (Shout out to Beyonce and Jay-Z’s prenup). People love to get creative and sometimes the good ol’ property division and spousal maintenance (i.e., alimony) clauses aren’t enough. For example, with HelloPrenup, we offer a highly customizable prenup, but sometimes you may not see exactly what you’re looking for if it’s extremely unique (like Bey and Jay’s prenup clause). If that’s the case, you can seek out support from attorneys directly through the platform to add in custom clauses!
Prenup lawyers can offer you advice
One great thing about lawyers is they can give you legal advice. Legal advice is when a lawyer gives you recommendations or guidance about your legal rights and responsibilities in a specific legal situation. They can take their knowledge of prenup law and their years of experience and apply it to your situation. Should you waive alimony? Should you add in that infidelity clause? What about life insurance and death clauses? Do these make sense for YOUR specific situation? That’s really what prenup lawyers do best: use their expert knowledge and help you make the best decisions for you.
How do I find a good prenup lawyer in Seattle?
Now, where on EARTH does one find a good prenup lawyer in Seattle? Do you just pick the first one you find on Google? Maybe, maybe not. We recommend you start with your inner circle. Reach out to friends, family, coworkers, friends of friends, and neighbors to ask if anyone has experience with a good prenup lawyer. It’s arguably the best way to find a prenup lawyer that has a proven track record by someone you trust.
If that doesn’t work, you might consider turning to Washington State Bar Association’s lawyer look up page or King County Bar Association’s attorney directory. These websites typically allow you to filter down by the specialty (family law). On the King County site, you have to reach out to them by phone or email to request a lawyer referral. Remember to specify that you’re looking for someone who does prenups because not all family law lawyers do them.
If that’s not of interest to you or just simply doesn’t work out, you can turn to trusty ol’ Google. Try searching things like “Seattle prenup lawyer” or “Seattle family law attorney” to generate a list of attorneys near you. Again, remember to check their websites and reviews to make sure that you are getting a high quality attorney. Google and Avvo often have client reviews for attorneys, so make sure to check them out.
Finally, feel free to book a 15 minute consultation with a short list of prenup lawyers. Many attorneys offer free consults to allow the client to ask preliminary questions and get to know them. During this call, you can get a good idea of whether or not you feel comfortable hiring them! Happy prenup lawyer hunting!
What are the legal requirements for a Seattle prenup?
Let’s talk a little bit about the legalities of a prenup. What goes into a prenup to make it valid and enforceable in Seattle, Washington? Remember, every state is different when it comes to prenups (although they are all quite similar, there are some differences). For one, Washington does not follow the UPAA. The UPAA (The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act) is a standardized guideline that 28 states have adopted to try to create consistent prenup laws across the U.S. Washington is not one of those states. So, Washington creates its own laws on how prenups are handled in its state. Don’t worry though– there’s nothing crazy or truly out of the ordinary in Washington. Let’s dive into the requirements for a WA prenup:
- Make sure the prenup is in writing (no verbal agreements!)
- Make sure both partners sign it (no signatures, no prenup!)
- Make sure the agreement was entered into freely by both parties (no force or duress)
- Make sure both parties provide full and fair financial disclosure (no skimping on your finances!)
- Make sure the agreement is fair and reasonable (nothing
- Make sure to include terms that are lawful and do not go against WA public policy
Cost of a Seattle prenup lawyer
So, what’ll it cost ya? Spoiler alert: it’s going to cost a little more than a craft cup of coffee, but don’t worry we’ve got some cheaper alternatives for you to consider (hint, hint, HelloPrenup). Let’s start with the traditional cost of a Seattle prenup lawyer. The price depends on various factors: the skills and experience of the lawyer you hire, your area’s cost of living, and your specific situation and requests.
Skills and experience of your lawyer
You might notice that the number of years under an attorney’s belt can really impact the price tag. For instance, a legal pro with two decades of experience is likely to charge more per hour than a recent law school graduate. But that’s not all! If you find someone who’s a total prenup whiz or has a solid history of crafting top-notch prenuptial agreements, you might find their services on the higher end as well. It’s all about the expertise they bring to the table, and that can definitely affect the cost.
Seattle’s cost of living
The cost of living in your area is going to play into how much your attorney costs. For example, a Manhattan, NYC prenup lawyer is going to cost much more than a Tulsa, Oklahoma prenup lawyer. Where does Seattle fall? Seattle definitely falls on the pricier side–that is, 50% higher than the national average. That means your Seattle lawyer is going to cost a bit more than in most other cities.
Your situation and requests
It’s all about the complexity of your situation and your specific requests. If you’ve got straightforward finances, like a 401k and a home, and your only ask is to keep everything separate, then it’s probably going to be a smoother, and therefore less time-consuming, process for your attorney.
Conversely, if your finances include a trust fund, multiple businesses, and an extensive real estate portfolio, for example, things can get a bit more complicated. Also, if you and your partner have some intense back-and-forth negotiations, that can add to the overall cost as well.
You are writing your life story.
Get on the same page with a prenup.
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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]