Congratulations on getting engaged! If you clicked on this blog article, you’re probably considering a prenuptial agreement and wondering where to find a prenup lawyer. Good on you! We’ll cut to the chase: lawyers who do prenups are either family law attorneys or prenup lawyers. Family law attorneys practice a broad range of family matters, sometimes including prenups, and prenup lawyers only practice prenups. We’ll get into the details below, so stick around to learn all about what a lawyer who does prenups can do for you and why you should hire one!
Family law attorneys
A family law attorney is someone who practices topics in law related to family matters. Areas that can be covered by a family law attorney include:
- Divorce and separation
- Spousal support (a.k.a. alimony)
- Child support
- Child custody
- Child visitation
- Adoption and foster care issues
- Paternity issues
- Prenuptial agreements
- Postnuptial agreements
- Cohabitation agreements
- Domestic violence
- And more
A family law attorney may practice in all of these areas, or specialize in just a few of the areas. For example, a family law attorney may only specialize in marital contracts, such as prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements. Or maybe they only do divorce. Or they can do it all! It’s really dependent on the lawyer and their experience.
Prenuptial agreement attorneys
There are some family law attorneys that ONLY do prenups. Their specialty is prenuptial agreements and they are the experts in that area. They read all of the most recent case law and news surrounding prenuptial agreements, and they work with drafting prenups every day. They may (or may not) also litigate prenups, meaning they may also challenge the validity of a prenup or defend it in court. Not all prenup lawyers do litigation though. A prenuptial agreement attorney may also do postnuptial agreements–depending on their experience and preferences.
What does a lawyer who does prenups do?
Someone who specializes in prenups, whether they are a broad-scope family law attorney or a niche prenup attorney, will guide you seamlessly through the entire prenuptial agreement process, ensuring you emerge with a comprehensive prenuptial agreement. One thing to keep in mind is that when you are hiring a lawyer to do your prenup, you are not simultaneously hiring a divorce lawyer. That is a separate engagement and you may never even need one. You can hire someone else to do your divorce, or you can hire the same prenup lawyer (if they do divorces). Also, if you ever want to challenge the validity of the prenup one day (or defend it), you can hire your original prenup attorney or a different one.
With that in mind, let’s dive into more detail on what a lawyer who does prenups may do for you:
- They will have a consultation with you to ask questions about your goals for the prenup and your finances
- They will review your finances in depth
- They will draft the agreement with your specific needs in mind
- They will answer legal questions for you and offer legal advice
- They will negotiate the terms of the agreement with your partner’s lawyer
- They will review the finalized draft with you and answer last-minute questions
- They will help you finalize the agreement (i.e., signatures, notarization, and witnesses, if necessary)
Your prenup lawyer is there to facilitate an agreement to enter into a happy and long-lasting relationship. In other words, a lawyer who is doing a prenup for you is not there to prepare for divorce, but instead, to prepare you for a happy, lifelong marriage.
What credentials does a prenuptial agreement attorney have?
The credentials of a prenuptial agreement attorney are straightforward. They will have a Juris Doctor (i.e., “J.D.”) from an accredited law school and they will also be licensed in one or more states. A state license means that the attorney took the bar exam in that state and passed. A state license is also required to be updated and renewed by continuing legal education at a certain cadence. You can check a lawyer’s license status on your local state bar association’s website. When looking for a prenuptial agreement attorney (or family law attorney), you will want to make sure that they are licensed in the state that you reside in.
Why should I hire a prenuptial agreement attorney?
Most states allow you to create a prenup agreement without hiring a lawyer, but creating a DIY prenup isn’t recommended. There are many benefits to hiring a lawyer who does prenups.
They can offer legal advice and best practices
Hiring a lawyer who specializes in prenups can offer you legal advice and best practices that make sense for your situation. For example, you may wonder if you should waive alimony in your prenup. A lawyer can explain what alimony is, how it will affect you in the event of a divorce, and what the best practice may be for your situation.
They can draft a customized agreement that meets your unique needs
Based on your prenup goals and finances, your lawyer will draft a prenup agreement that is unique to you. What makes sense for you may not make sense for the next person, so your lawyer will ensure your contract is tailored to your life and goals.
They can negotiate on your behalf
Talking about money with your partner can be awkward. On top of that, negotiating finances with your partner can be even more uncomfortable. Luckily, when you hire a lawyer to do your prenup, they will negotiate on your behalf with your partner’s attorney.
They can provide peace of mind
A lawyer who specializes in prenups likely has the knowledge and experience to give you peace of mind that you have an ironclad prenup that will protect your financial future in any situation that may arise.
How do I know if my attorney is high quality?
If you are looking for an attorney who does prenups, you may be overwhelmed with the options out there. Who do you hire? How do you know they’re good? What should you look out for? We totally get it! Here are some things to look out for that may indicate you have found yourself a “good” prenup attorney:
- They have an active license in the state you reside in
- They have a background in mediation for conflict resolution skills
- They have open availability to take on your case
- They have excellent reviews online from past customers
- They exclusively or almost exclusively practice prenups
- They have 10 or more years of experience in prenups
- They practice with a focus on communication and happy marriages
- They have a personality that meshes well with yours
Not every attorney is for everyone. You may get along better with some attorneys than others. That is why it may be a good idea to have an initial trial run call with some attorneys to get a feel for what they may be like. Remember, you will be sharing intimate details about your relationship, life goals, and finances with this person, so you want to be comfortable.
At the end of the day, a high-quality prenup lawyer should focus on excellent communication, fostering your relationship, and providing excellent service to you.
The bottom line
A lawyer who does prenups is going to be either a family law attorney who does broad-scope family issues or a prenuptial agreement attorney who only does prenup agreements. Either one is a good option, but hiring someone who exclusively does prenups may be your best option since they do prenups day in and day out. Remember, to find an excellent lawyer who does prenups, look for someone with great conflict resolution skills, a focus on your marriage, and great prenup experience.
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]