Another sound associated with weddings is “money, money, money,” which, we know, isn’t quite as fantastical as wedding bells. It’s no secret that weddings are costly affairs. According to CNN Money, the average wedding in the United States cost $35,329 in 2016. Catering, cake, and decorations – it’s a lot of money to spend on a single day. And as COVID-delayed weddings are being rescheduled and guest lists are growing due to the fact that we have all been isolated for over a year, adding another cost to your wedding budget might sound like the last thing you want to do. A prenup is probably the last thing you want to spend money on. Although prenups have a reputation for being something only the wealthy can do, having one is a good idea for any couple planning to marry. The good news is that, while you don’t have to be wealthy to have a prenuptial agreement, you also don’t have to be wealthy to afford to get one.
When it comes to creating a prenup in CA or NY, there are a few different directions you can go, and it’s important to weigh your choices to avoid wasting any of your hard-earned “money, money, money.” To begin, keep in mind that a prenuptial agreement is similar to any other contract. It includes provisions, and all parties concerned – you and your partner, of course – must consent to and sign the contract in its entirety. The most common method of drafting a prenuptial agreement is for each party (you and your spouse) to retain independent legal counsel and have them negotiate the terms, and then draft the agreement. This isn’t the only way to go about creating a prenup, though. In many states, prenuptial agreements don’t always necessitate the representation by an attorney– rather, you and your fiancé are free to contract without one. The parties must have had the ability to employ an attorney in most states, so you should make sure that you are leaving enough time to consult with an attorney in case either you or your fiancé would like to hire one. The beauty of modern technology reigns supreme once more, and those seeking to establish a prenuptial agreement online now have an option- HelloPrenup, of course! We’ll discuss why our service is so superior to other online alternatives later in this article.
First things first- Do I even need a prenup?
It’s time to bring up the “P word”: prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding pre-marital agreement that two people sign before tying the knot, that addresses financial plans and the ownership of assets in the case of a divorce.
Prenuptial agreements have long been regarded as a dirty word by couples due to their delicate emotional nature. Many people are afraid to ask for a prenup— anticipating backlash from their partner or family members, embarrassing financial revelations, or even unresolved relationship problems.
However, we think prenuptial agreements are losing their stigma as embarrassing documents or documents that only the super wealthy need.
Citing the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the number of millennials seeking prenuptial agreements has dramatically increased over the past few years. More than half of the lawyers polled saw an increase in prenuptial agreements among millennials, and 62% saw an increase in prenuptial agreements overall from 2013 to 2016. Why? Well, for starters, millennials are marrying later, with more money in the bank and more assets, as well as significantly more student loan debt. In addition, their parents, aging boomers headed towards retirement may have significant wealth to pass down- an estimated $60 trillion – and are pushing their millennial kids to get a prenuptial agreement before marrying.
Traditional Prenuptial Agreements
If you want to go the conventional route and employ lawyers to represent both you and your fiancé, the costs associated with this traditional method will vary significantly depending on the attorney you hire. A typical prenuptial agreement can usually cost anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 per partner, according to Business Insider. When working with an attorney, keep in mind that almost all time spent working with them is spent on the clock, as they bill by the hour. Some attorneys will offer a flat fee arrangement, where you will pay them a set price, and they will draft and negotiate all aspects of your prenuptial agreement for that price.
It’s also worth remembering that, as with most items, prenuptial agreement rates vary greatly depending on where you live. A prenuptial agreement negotiated by a lawyer in Manhattan, NY, for example, is likely to be more expensive than one drafted in a remote region of Alabama. Of course, if you plan to live in rural Alabama as a married couple, there may be fewer family law attorneys than in Manhattan.
Another important piece to keep in mind when considering price, is that a firm’s credibility will have an effect on the costs you’ll be faced with. Naturally, the better and more respected the attorney’s reputation, the higher the fee. The advantage is that if your prenuptial agreement is complicated, having a more experienced attorney will almost always result in a higher-quality prenuptial agreement. Because the requirements of enforcement differ from state to state, finding a competent attorney who can explain the standards of enforceability for your state’s prenuptial agreement laws is essential.
Keeping Costs Down with the Traditional Route
If you decide to go down the route of a more conventional prenuptial agreement, there are measures you should consider to keep costs down. The more you discuss your ideal terms with your future partner in advance, the easier it will be to keep attorney billable hours down. Before seeking legal advice, it’s particularly important to iron out the pieces of your prenup that could feel more emotionally charged in negotiations, such as inheritance or alimony obligations. Even if you discuss these issues very generally with your partner, it will keep the cost down. The less time you spend haggling with lawyers, the less your agreement will likely cost. How does HelloPrenup fit into this equation? Even if you want to consult with or hire an attorney to represent you in your prenup (and we encourage that!) HelloPrenup will help you save money by allowing you and your fiance to negotiate and draft a ‘base’ prenuptial agreement that can be brought to any attorneys you choose to hire. Doing so can save time and money on your prenuptial agreement.
Preparing Your Prenuptial Agreement Online
The advantage of drafting your own prenup via an online software is that it will almost certainly save you money. The concern with doing so, is that you really don’t know what you are getting as a finished product, which could seriously impact the validity and future enforceability of your agreement. Although there are a number of “do-it-yourself” websites that sell legal document forms such as wills, trusts, simple business contracts and prenups, there is understandable skepticism about the documents’ validity. And, in the case of the majority of online prenup document production services, this suspicion is well founded. The majority of today’s online document-creation sites produce a prenuptial agreement that is neither enforceable nor consistent with state laws. That’s why HelloPrenup was developed in the first place! So, how are we different?
Drafting a Prenup with Hello Prenup
HelloPrenup helps you to create a personalized prenup that is tailored to your and your fiancé’s specific circumstances. HelloPrenup allows users to “opt-in” to essential provisions that discuss issues such as pre-marital property, marital property, spousal support, death provisions, and more by asking specific questions. Furthermore, Hello Prenup is the only online prenup development provider that adheres to strict enforceability criteria when it comes to such state-specific provisions. If you want your prenuptial agreement to stand the test of time, following state rules for enforcement is essential. Is there a bonus advantage to HelloPrenup that you should know about? The base price for HelloPrenup is $599 per couple, compared to thousands of dollars for a typical attorney. Maybe best of all, is that we don’t make you choose between HelloPrenup and hiring an attorney. In fact, a HelloPrenup draft prenuptial agreement can be taken to any attorney in the form of a word document for advice, review, and revisions. HelloPrenup has a network of attorneys available if you are in need of a referral.
In fact, certain states require that in order for certain provisions to be enforceable, parties must be represented by an attorney. Let’s use California for example. California prenuptial agreement law requires that in order for a waiver of alimony or spousal support, the party waiving their rights must be represented by an attorney at the time the document is signed. In addition, California requires that there be at least seven days between the presentation of the agreement, and when it is signed, in order to give parties enough time to find an attorney if they want one. HelloPrenup keeps these state requirements in mind, and uses language and prompts to help guide you in the right direction. Are you getting a prenup in California and need an attorney? No problem- we have a list of attorneys we can recommend.
Questions? Concerns? Need a referral to an attorney? Just want to say Hi? Reach out to us at [email protected]
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].