If you click on this article, that means you are probably looking for a prenuptial agreement lawyer in South Dakota. Below, we discuss how to find one, what is considered a good prenup lawyer, the average cost to hire one, what they actually do, and some relevant case law on prenups. Keep reading to learn more!
Steps to find a prenuptial agreement lawyer in South Dakota
Let’s walk through six steps you can take to find the perfect prenup lawyer in South Dakota for you.
Step 1: Ask for recommendations
Utilize your network. Reach out to friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, your best friend’s brother’s teacher, your aunt’s masseuse, whatever you need to do! It’s always best to utilize services from someone who’s already vetted them and can vouch for their work.
Step 2: Check online
Doing a quick online search is a great way to find lawyers. You can try Google, Reddit, Avvo, or any other online platform you find useful.
For Google, you can simply search terms like “prenup lawyer near me,” or “prenuptial agreement lawyer South Dakota,” or “prenup lawyer South Dakota.”
For Reddit, you can join subreddits such as South Dakota, Ask Lawyers, or prenuptial agreements. Then, you post your request, such as making a standalone post that asks, “Does anyone have a recommendation for an excellent prenuptial agreement attorney in South Dakota?” Maybe also mention the city you live in, as well.
Avvo is basically an attorney directory. You can filter down by location and specialty. So, you can look for family law attorneys in South Dakota. However, you can’t filter it down to prenuptial agreement attorneys, so you will want to make sure the family law attorneys you are looking at actually do prenups.
Step 3: South Dakota Bar Association website
You can utilize the South Dakota Bar Association “find a lawyer” page to locate lawyers in your area who do prenuptial agreements. This is a great way to find verified South Dakota-licensed attorneys.
Step 4: Make sure they specialize in prenuptial agreements
Again, don’t forget to check the lawyers’ websites to see what services they provide. Make sure they actually do prenuptial agreements, as some family law attorneys do not.
Step 5: Read through the reviews
Avvo Google and some other websites post reviews that past clients have made about their lawyers. Reading through some or all of these reviews is a great way to get to know a lawyer’s work ethic and style of practice.
Step 6: Vet them
You can do a mini-trial run with your attorney by booking a free 10-30-minute consultation with them. Most attorneys will not charge for this but double-check with them to make sure. During this call, you can ask basic, low-level questions about the timeline, cost, and logistics of their services. By the end of the call, you should have a very good idea of whether you would feel comfortable working with them. Remember, you will be sharing sensitive information with this person, such as financial statements and marital relationship details.
Average cost of a prenuptial agreement lawyer in South Dakota
Most people want to cut right to the chase–how much is this going to cost me? Well, the answer is (unfortunately), “it depends.” It depends on your needs, the complexity of your finances, the skill of your lawyer, and how long negotiations with your partner take.
Some lawyers charge flat rates for a prenup while others charge hourly. In South Dakota, the average hourly rate for a lawyer is $189 per hour. The cost of living is 6% lower than the national average.
If you have an “easy” set of needs and basic finances, with minimal negotiations, your lawyer might take about 10 hours to complete your prenup. This would include a 1 hour consult, 6 hours of drafting, 2 hours of negotiations, and a 1 hour review and finalization session. That puts you at $189 per hour for 10 hours, equaling an average of $1,890 for a prenuptial agreement in South Dakota. Now, keep in mind, that this price can go up or down depending on your lawyer’s cost and the amount of hours it takes them to complete your prenup. Also keep in mind the national average to get a prenup is a bit higher, it’s about $2,500.
What is considered a “good” prenuptial agreement lawyer in South Dakota?
So, you are on a journey to find a “good” prenup lawyer in South Dakota, but what does that actually entail? We’ve broken down a few key traits that we think make up a “good” prenuptial agreement attorney.
- Years of experience
This is pretty basic but worth noting. Someone with ten or more years of experience is typically going to have more knowledge than someone with two years of experience. A “veteran” prenup lawyer has seen it all, done it all, and will be able to get your prenup done quickly and efficiently.
Hiring someone who is calm, cool, and collected for a prenup may be a better idea than hiring someone who is brash, aggressive, and argumentative. Remember, you aren’t getting divorced. A prenup shouldn’t be a hostile experience. You want to hire a lawyer who is going to facilitate an open environment to get your prenup done.
- Specialization in prenuptial agreements
The best prenuptial agreement attorneys in the world are likely the ones that ONLY do prenups. If your lawyer does prenups but also does divorce, custody, child support, adoptions, domestic violence, and appeals, then they may not be the best prenup lawyer because they are more of a jack of all trades. Someone who only does prenups is likely abreast of all the latest prenuptial agreement legal trends and has seen hundreds upon hundreds of prenup cases.
- A focus on the marriage
It’s key to hire someone who has a focus on marriage, not on divorce. You aren’t getting a prenup to get a divorce. You are getting a prenup to get married and stay married. Someone who wants the best for your marriage, not just for you, is the best option, in our opinion.
What does a prenuptial agreement lawyer in South Dakota do?
You’ve done the research, and you’ve found yourself a Grade A prenuptial agreement lawyer…but… what do they do? It’s a great question! Let’s discuss.
- Answer questions and give you legal advice
Trust us, you’re going to have questions. The answers to those questions are typically considered legal advice. You can ask your lawyer anything about the law, your prenup, negotiations, and a potential divorce and they will be able to guide you. For example, you might want to ask your lawyer, “Should I include a death clause in my prenup?” your lawyer should give you an in-depth explanation of what a death clause is, whether it makes sense for you, and what implications it has.
- Draft your agreement
Of course, as expected, your prenuptial agreement lawyer will create your prenup agreement. They will make sure your goals, wants, and needs are all reflected in the document. Most lawyers utilize a template and then add and edit that template as necessary to fit your situation.
- Conduct negotiations with your partner’s lawyer
Most people will need to have their lawyer do some level of negotiating for them. Unless you and your partner agree on every last thing about your prenup, then you will need to do some level of negotiations. This can be as simple as a 20-minute phone call between the lawyers or a 3-hour sit-down meeting. It all depends on your specific situation.
- Facilitate an open environment
Your lawyer should facilitate an environment where you and your partner feel comfortable and supported. In our opinion, getting a prenup shouldn’t be a hostile experience, but instead one of collaboration and trust to facilitate a lifelong marriage.
- A prenup lawyer is NOT your divorce lawyer
Remember, when you are hiring a prenuptial agreement lawyer, it doesn’t mean you are hiring a divorce lawyer. Some prenup lawyers don’t even do divorces. However, if your prenup lawyer is also a divorce lawyer, there’s nothing stopping you from hiring them in the future if you ever get a divorce.
Important case law regarding prenuptial agreements in South Dakota
A case on spousal support waivers in prenuptial agreements in South Dakota
In the case Connolly v. Connolly, a couple had entered into a premarital agreement before their marriage in which they both agreed not to ask for financial support (spousal support) from each other in the event of a divorce. However, when they eventually did get divorced, one of the spouses asked for spousal support anyway, despite the prenup saying they couldn’t do that.
The outcome of the case was that the court declared the prenup agreement unfair. Why? Because it is too challenging to predict future circumstances, and during the late 1970s when the case was decided, there was a prevailing societal interest in ensuring that husbands provided financial support to their wives. Consequently, the court ruled that the premarital agreement could not be enforced and returned the case to the lower court for further deliberations.
It’s important to note that although this case is from a long time ago, it still sets the legal precedent in South Dakota. In South Dakota, you still cannot waive or modify spousal support through a prenuptial agreement.
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]