Everyone talks about what prenups are, why to get them, and who gets them, but what about HOW to get them? Nowadays, there is more than just one way to get a prenup. You can hire a family law attorney the good old-fashioned way, you can do it yourself (although this is highly discouraged), you can get an online prenup (shoutout HelloPrenup), or you can do a hybrid of online prenup and attorney. We’re going to dig into all of these options and how family lawyers and online prenups match up.
What is a prenup?
A prenup is a contract between two individuals about to get married. It covers what should happen in the event the marriage should end, such as property division, debt allocation, and alimony (i.e., spousal support or maintenance). Prenups usually handle financial matters, but you may also include non-financial matters, such as pet ownership, confidentiality, social media image, infidelity (in some states), and more.
The benefits of a prenup are quite hefty. For starters, you are saving yourself money and time and streamlining a divorce, should that ever happen. You and your honey basically decide on certain issues like property division in a prenup that you would’ve had to possibly “argue” over in a divorce. Contesting issues in court costs money and time (and your sanity, if we’re being real!).
Most people hope they never have to utilize their prenup, but sometimes they do. If your marriage ends, you can either privately, between the two of you and your divorce attorneys, enforce the prenup. Or if one party argues the validity of the prenup or refuses to oblige to the terms, then you may need to request a court to enforce the prenup.
Ways to get a prenup
There are a few ways you can get a prenup. For one (and this is not recommended), you can do it yourself. A do-it-yourself prenup would look something like typing up your own terms on Microsoft Word and then printing it out. Again, this is highly discouraged because unless you are a highly trained family lawyer specializing in prenuptial agreements, you probably do not know the law well enough to ensure a valid prenup. However, it’s still possible to do this in some states.
Another way to do it is via online prenup. There are online prenup templates, which are not the greatest choice because they are made for the masses, not for individual couples with unique needs. They can also miss very important state requirements and rules, as each state is different when it comes to prenups.
There is another type of online prenup: HelloPrenup’s online prenup. HelloPrenup is not merely a copy-and-paste template but instead a dual participation platform that helps you curate a customized prenup while staying compliant with state laws. With HelloPrenup, you can take the driver’s seat in the prenup-making process and control what goes into your prenup, when you do it, and how you do it, all while being in the comfort of your own home.
Then there are, of course, family law attorneys. For decades, family law attorneys have been helping couples draft prenups that are valid, enforceable, and tailored to their specific goals. Hiring a family law attorney is always an excellent option.
Last but not least, there is a hybrid option you can choose: first, you generate your prenup with HelloPrenup, then you review it with a family law attorney. You can ask the family law attorney questions and/or hire them as your legal representation. This option still saves you time and money and gives you the control to understand exactly what’s going into your prenup and why.
Welcome to the digital age! It’s about time that the legal industry dove into the wonderful world of technology. Online prenups have advantages and disadvantages, just like family law attorneys.
Pro: Gives you control. Sometimes, getting a prenup with an attorney can feel a bit like you’re sitting in the passenger seat of a Nascar driver during a race. You know you’re in good hands, but dang, they are going FAST! With HelloPrenup, you can take back the driver’s seat and choose exactly when you will work on your prenup, what goes into it, how it will work, and you can even choose to leave stuff out if you think it’s not right for your marriage. The options are at your fingertips, and you and your partner can make these decisions on your own time.
Pro: saves you money. I mean, who doesn’t love saving money? The average prenup with a lawyer costs $2,500. With HelloPrenup, it’s just $599 per couple. That’s a whopping $1,901 (on average) you’d save using an online prenup, maybe even more. Let’s think about what you can buy for $1,901. Flights and three day stay at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico… a small Prada purse (hint, hint, to all the guys out there)… a Tiffany’s classic ring band for the fellas… a LOT of champagne. I mean, c’mon, the options are endless!
Pro: saves you time. You can generate a HelloPrenup prenup in just an hour and a half. Yes, you read that right. With a family law attorney, the prenup process can take weeks to complete. Now let’s think about what you can do with all of the PTO you saved yourself. A trip to Paris. A staycation week. A week for your honeymoon. A week to just relax at home and catch up on life. Sounds pretty great to us!
Con: you may have legal questions. After generating your prenup online, you may still have legal questions regarding the prenup. You will need to take those questions to an attorney for advice and/or representation. However, even if you do this, you still save yourself money on having to pay an attorney to actually draft up the prenup!
Con: you may feel worried about the validity of it. We understand, but let us reassure you: online prenups can be valid and enforceable. The legal world is just slow to enter the tech space, so it’s still a slightly new concept. But not to worry, HelloPrenup was created by a divorce attorney and reviewed by other divorce attorneys. Heck, even Kevin O’Leary on Shark Tank chose to invest in HelloPrenup. There’s nothing to fear!
Let’s dive a little deeper into getting a prenup with a family law attorney. This method is a tried-and-true way of getting a prenup, but it doesn’t come without its faults, like anything in life!
Pro: years of experience. You will get some peace of mind from hiring an attorney with years of experience with prenups (that is, if you hire an experienced prenup attorney). They have seen it all and can put your mind at ease by explaining to you exactly what you can expect and ensuring you get the best possible outcome.
Pro: they can answer questions for you. As you are going through the prenup process, you may have questions. Maybe you want clarity on the divorce process, or maybe you really just can’t wrap your head around the concept of alimony (i.e., spousal support). An attorney can help answer all of these questions for you.
Con: lawyers are expensive. The more experience an attorney has, the more likely their hourly rate is to be very high. Most family law attorneys charge by the hour, and the average hourly rate is $275. This number is just an average, though, and an hourly rate can climb up to $1,000 depending on where you live, the lawyer’s skill and experience, and more. Further, the average prenup costs around $2,500, but depending on the complexity of your case, it can be $10,000 or more.
Con: prenups made by lawyers take time. Unlike an online prenup, a prenup made by a lawyer will likely take weeks, depending on a lot of factors. This can be a disadvantage for many reasons. Maybe you only have a few months before the wedding and want a prenup ASAP. Or maybe you just don’t want to spend hours on this process with an attorney. Heck, you’ve got a wedding and honeymoon to plan; we get it!
Con: you will have to divulge sensitive information to a stranger, and it can be uncomfortable. There are no keeping secrets from your attorney, especially when it comes to getting a prenup. You legally cannot withhold financial information; otherwise, you risk invalidating the whole prenup. For example, you can’t minimize the amount of debt you have because you’re embarrassed about it. That’s a fast-track way to getting your prenup thrown in the trash by a judge. During the prenup process, there’s a part called financial disclosure in which you must disclose ALL of your finances, not just some. Talking about money with your spouse, let alone a complete stranger (i.e., your attorney), can be stressful and uncomfortable.
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]