What Is A Prenup Consultation, And Why Do You Need One?

Jun 6, 2023 | Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers, Prenuptial Agreements

So you’re considering a prenuptial agreement? Good on you! If so, you may have heard of a prenup consultation with an attorney and are wondering what the heck it means, why you need one, and what to expect at one. Well, the answer is pretty simple: a prenup consult is a time to discuss with an attorney all things prenup, your life, and the next steps. Let’s dive in. 


What is a Prenup Consultation?

A prenup consultation is a meeting between a client and an attorney to discuss the prenup process, the laws surrounding a prenup, and your specific wants/needs/life circumstances. This may take place at an attorney’s office physically, or you could even do a virtual call for this; it depends on your preferences and your attorney’s practice. 


Why Do You Need a Prenup Consultation?

What’s the purpose of a prenup consultation, anyway? Why do you need one? Well, for a few reasons, but mostly to get acquainted with your lawyer and understand the prenup journey as a whole.


Get to Know Your Lawyer 

An important aspect of a legal consultation is making sure you are comfortable with your attorney. Remember, you will be sharing sensitive information with this person, so you definitely want to be comfortable. Not only that, but you are trusting them with a big responsibility (making your prenup), so make sure you’re confident in their skills. 


Understand the Prenup Process 

The prenup process is not very complicated, but it is definitely important to understand. Generally, most lawyers will require a consultation to make sure their clients understand the “lay of the land” as it pertains to getting a prenup. 

Every state has different requirements for prenups, but here is the general layout: 

  1. Initial prenup consultation (questions, pricing, meet and greet, etc.)
  2. An in-depth discussion about needs/wants for the prenup between the client and lawyer
  3. Legal explanations of certain topics 
  4. Financial disclosure 
  5. Negotiations with the future spouse
  6. Drafting the final prenup version
  7. Reviewing, editing, and making changes to the contract
  8. Explaining the contract 
  9. Finalizing (signatures, witnesses, notaries, etc.)

This may look different based on different states and/or how different attorneys practice, but you get the idea. This process should be well-understood by the client, and a prenup consultation helps do just that.


Ask Legal and General Questions 

In a prenup consultation, the client may also want to ask specific legal questions or just general questions about the process. This could be just generally how much everything will cost or, more specifically, about laws around prenups. Here are some questions you can ask at your prenup consultation: 

  • How much does it cost? 
  • How long will it take? 
  • What happens in a divorce if I don’t have a prenup? 
  • How does enforcing a prenup work if I do get a divorce? 

Not only will you be asking some questions, but your lawyer will likely ask you some questions, too. They may want to get an idea of your financial background, your specific goals with the prenup, and some other miscellaneous things. 


What Makes Sense for You?

Most of the time, a prenup is going to make sense for most people, but in some cases, it may not! Maybe it’s out of your price range (Enter: HelloPrenup), or maybe your spouse is vehemently against prenups. And what about clauses? Which clauses specifically would make sense for your case? For example, would a lump sum clause make sense for you? What about infidelity clauses? Are they even enforceable in your state? At your prenup consultation, you can “dip your toes in” the metaphorical prenup pond to see what all makes sense for YOUR specific situation.


How to Prepare for a Prenup Consultation?

Before your prenup consultation, there are a few things you can do to prepare:

Gather Financial Information

One thing to understand about the prenup-making process is that you will need to disclose your finances. We’re not talking about just some of your finances; we’re talking about ALL of them. We understand that this may not be so simple for some people, which is why we urge you to gather your financial information prior to your prenup consult to make it as efficient as possible. This includes all assets (think: properties, bank accounts, cars, etc.), income (salaries, commission, bonuses, etc.), debts (student loans, credit cards, etc.), and future inheritances (you may need to ask your Mom just exactly how much she will be passing down to you one day for this one). 

You don’t necessarily need every last document for the first consultation, but at least having an understanding of your full financial picture, with general numbers, will be a good way to make the prenup consult more efficient. 


Be Honest About Your Assets and Liabilities

It’s important to be 100% honest about your assets, debt, income, and future inheritance during the prenup consultation. Failing to tell the truth to your lawyer can not only provide you with a false sense of what to expect for your prenup-making process but can also actually get your prenup thrown out in court later on. 

For example, if you fail to disclose that you have multiple businesses and/or debts to your lawyer in the initial prenup consult, the lawyer may quote you a lower cost or underestimate how long it may take them to complete the prenup. If they later find out you withheld information, this may derail their whole work process, and they could also end up dropping your case if they believe you did it in bad faith. 

On top of that, if your lawyer never finds out that you lied about your finances and you go through with the prenup, your prenup has a chance of being invalidated for lack of financial disclosure. 


Understand your Goals for your Life and the Prenup

What are your life/financial goals, and what do you want out of this prenup? If you show up without a single clue about what you want, that’s okay, too, but it may be more efficient if you put some thought into it beforehand. Do you want to protect a certain piece of real estate? Maybe you want to avoid alimony. What about inheritances? Have you thought about if either of you will be a stay-at-home parent? These are the things that will likely be brought up by your lawyer at some point anyway, so if you go in, locked and loaded with answers, your prenup consult could go very smoothly. (Remember: the less time spent with your lawyer, the less money they charge you). 

man signing contract with a lawyer in a prenuptial consultation


What to Expect During a Prenup Consultation?

Okay, so you’re pulling up to your attorney’s office and about to walk in. What can you expect? Will you be bombarded with things to sign and intense legal questions? Not usually, no! Let’s talk more about what you can expect at your prenup consultation.


Questions from Your Lawyer 

Your lawyer may want to get a general idea of your life circumstances and your goals. Are you a trust fund baby, or are you a struggling entrepreneur with tons of debt? Do you have complex goals for the prenup, or are your goals very straightforward?


Discussion of the Financial Situation

One thing you may brace yourself for is the uncomfortable question of “How much money do you have?” And, yes, it will likely be asked pretty early on so the attorney can understand whether or not you have complex financials. (Complex financials usually means more time will be needed for your prenup). They also need to know your financial situation to start brainstorming what prenup terms make sense for you and your partner. 

For example, if you have a lot less money than your partner, they may suggest a lump sum clause (an equalization payment that would require the wealthier spouse to pay a lump sum upon divorce, separate from alimony and property division). 

So what kind of financials will be discussed?

  • Assets (real estate, bank accounts, investments, artwork, cars, etc.)
  • Income (salary, bonuses, commission, royalties, etc.)
  • Debts (student loans, credit card debt, business loans, etc.)
  • Future inheritance (potential money that you will receive in the future from family/friends)


Explaining the Legal Implications

What a prenup is, what terms in a prenup mean, how to enforce a prenup if you ever get a divorce, and what the laws of your state are in general. These are the things that will likely be explained to you by your attorney in the initial consult. 


When is the Best Time to Have a Prenup Consultation?

It’s best to have a prenup consultation as early as possible, ideally three to six months prior to the wedding day. This will give you ample time to review the agreement, make any necessary changes, and ensure that you are comfortable with the terms.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about prenup consultations

Q: How long do prenup consultations usually last?

A: This depends on what your lawyer will offer. Some will have a one-hour initial consultation, some will do 30 minutes, and some will have a flexible time on a case-by-case basis (letting the client lead the way). 


Q: Why should I have a prenup consultation?

A: A prenup consultation can help you better understand the prenup process, give you an opportunity to ask the lawyer questions, and determine if a prenup makes sense for you and, if so, what terms you should include.


Q: What should I bring to a prenup consultation?

A: You should be prepared with a general overview of all of your finances, including your income, assets, debts, and future inheritance. Do NOT skip anything, as it is critical for your attorney to fully understand your financial complexity. 


The Bottom Line 

A prenup consultation shouldn’t be scary. It should be a time to get to know your lawyer, ask questions, learn about the laws, and make sure you have a good understanding of what you’re getting into. Come prepared with your finances (don’t skip anything!) and brainstorm some goals you may have for your life in general and also for the prenup itself. 


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.
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