If you’re living in Austin, Texas, giddyup, because we’ve got some exciting info for you! Whether you’re either engaged or planning to get engaged, you are probably considering hiring an Austin prenuptial agreement lawyer (because who doesn’t get a prenup these days)?! Smart move on your part! Prenuptial agreement lawyers in Austin are valuable assets when it comes to creating, reviewing, and/or editing your prenup. They typically have the knowledge, experience, and expertise needed to assist you and your boo in drafting, reviewing, and/or editing a prenup agreement.
However, you might be wondering where to begin your search, what the costs are, and what the pros and cons are for hiring an Austin prenuptial agreement lawyer. Additionally, you may be curious about how Austin prenup lawyers compare to those in other states. Let’s dive in to get the answers to your burning questions!
How to Find a Prenup Lawyer in Austin
So, how do you find a prenup lawyer in Austin, you ask? While it can seem like a daunting task, it’s really quite simple. Here are some tips and tricks for finding the best prenup lawyer in your city:
- Recommendations from your network
One reliable method is to seek recommendations from coworkers, friends, or family who have gone through the prenup process in Austin, TX. It’s important to note that not all divorce or family law attorneys specialize in prenup drafting. You can verify the recommended lawyer’s expertise by researching them online and reviewing their services on their website.
- Search engines
Conduct an online search for prenup lawyers in Austin. Start by using search engines like Google and input relevant keywords such as “Austin prenuptial agreement lawyer” or “prenup lawyer near me.” You can also check websites such as Avvo to find lawyers in your area. If using Avvo, make sure to filter by “family law attorney” and then double-check that they actually do prenups because not all family law attorneys do.
- Online reviews
Regardless of your search method, it’s crucial to check online reviews to find the best prenup lawyer in Austin for you. You wouldn’t go to a restaurant without checking the reviews, right? Well, the same goes for lawyers! Look up the lawyer’s name on websites like Avvo and Google to find client reviews. These reviews offer valuable insights into the quality of an Austin prenup lawyer, such as how quickly they respond, their personality type, and their work ethic. Be sure to read both positive and negative reviews for a comprehensive assessment of the person.
- Texas Bar Association Website
Another great option for finding a prenup lawyer is to utilize the Texas Bar Association lawyer look-up page. You can filter lawyers by specialty (divorce and family law) and location (Austin). Just make sure that once you have a solid list of potential lawyers, you check their website to ensure that they actually do prenups. Not all divorce and family law lawyers do prenups.
- Consultations (i.e., test runs with the lawyer)
Once you’ve conducted your research and reviewed client feedback, arrange consultations with your shortlisted prenup agreement lawyers. We recommend you schedule meetings with at least two or three lawyers before making a final decision. Many Austin prenup lawyers provide free 15 to 30-minute consultations.
During these consults, inquire about their experience with prenups, their approach to drafting agreements, their availability to work with you, and the timeline. Assess your overall rapport with the attorney and ensure you feel comfortable sharing detailed information about your finances and personal relationships. This step allows you to make an informed choice.
Average Pricing for Prenup Lawyer in Austin
How much coin are you going to drop on a prenup lawyer in Austin? The answer isn’t so straightforward. Let’s break it down. For starters, lawyers set their own prices. A new law school grad will likely charge much less than a veteran prenup attorney clocking in 20 years of family law work. Even still, two lawyers, both with 20 years of experience, may charge completely different rates based on their personal career trajectory, law firm, skills, and personal preferences. And, of course, the geolocation of the lawyer takes a role in the price. Austin, Texas is fairly moderate in terms of cost of living for metropolitan cities in the United States. In other words, you won’t be seeing NYC and San Francisco pricing for lawyers in Austin, but it probably isn’t as cheap as a lawyer in rural South Dakota.
Charging for a prenup
The next thing to understand is that some lawyers don’t just charge a flat rate for a prenup (but some do). The cost for your prenup may not be straightforward and will likely depend on a multitude of factors. For example, if you have a ton of requests for your prenup. Or you have extremely complex finances. Or the negotiations with your partner are intense. Anything that will take more of your attorney’s time will rack up the cost.
The average cost of a prenup in Austin
Yeah, yeah, yeah, get to the point! Okay, we get it, you want to know how much you’re going to spend for a prenup in Austin. Let’s discuss. Attorneys in Texas typically charge (per hour) roughly somewhere between $100 and $500, with an average of $313/hour. If your prenup is very straightforward (you want to keep everything separate and don’t touch alimony) and your finances are basic (each partner only has a checking account and a 401k), then you might be looking at around 10 billable hours of work. For example, the 10 hours may break down to 1 hour for a consultation, 6 hours for drafting the prenup, 2 hours for negotiations, and a 1-hour review session. This comes out to about $3,130 average cost for a prenup in Austin.
Take this with a grain of salt, as this is only an educated estimate of how much you will be charged by an Austin prenup attorney. Your best bet is to go out and get estimates from lawyers, as pricing can vary significantly from lawyer to lawyer.
Pros of Hiring an Austin Prenup Lawyer
Let’s talk about some advantages of hiring a prenup lawyer
Tailored to you
A lawyer can create customized clauses that are specific to your situation. You can make sure everything from property division to pet ownership is tailored to your needs and wants. You may even be offered various clauses to add in (or not) depending on your situation. For example, do you want a sunset clause? What about a death clause? Whether or not these types of clauses are right for YOU is something a lawyer can help you with.
Peace of mind
While hiring a lawyer to do your prenup does NOT guarantee that you will have a valid and enforceable prenup, it can certainly give you some peace of mind. And, yes, your prenup can still be challenged and potentially thrown out, even if you have a lawyer. Nonetheless, a good quality prenup lawyer can optimize your chances of an ironclad prenup that is supportive of your needs and wants.
Avoiding legal pitfalls
Lawyers can generally help make sure you avoid legal pitfalls as they pertain to prenups. For example, in Texas, does the prenup need to be notarized or witnessed? These are basic formalities that a prenup lawyer can ensure you don’t miss.
When generating such an important document it’s likely that you’ll have questions. What happens if we do get a divorce, how do I “activate” the prenup? What if someone dies? What about my children? What does this clause mean? And so on, so forth. A lawyer can be there for you to answer any and all of your legal questions.
Cons of Hiring an Austin Prenup Lawyer
We discussed the advantages, now let’s talk about the disadvantages of hiring a lawyer.
The number one con of hiring a lawyer is cost. Lawyers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in law school, so it only makes sense that they will be charging you nothing short of an arm and a leg for their services. (We’re not saying it’s not worth it, it’s just pricey!).
Hiring a lawyer may just feel… weird before getting married. Maybe it feels to you and your partner like you’re already in conflict when there isn’t one. We get that. Even though prenups and prenup lawyers are excellent tools, we’re not ignorant to the fact that lawyers get a bad rep in terms of conflict.
Your lawyer will be “taking a look under the hood” of your finances and relationship, so to speak. You will have to divulge extremely personal information, such as how much money you make and your marital goals. It can be tough to do this with a complete stranger (i.e., your lawyer).
Texas Prenuptial Agreement Laws
With all this prenup lawyer talk, you might be thinking about prenuptial agreements themselves. What can you put in them, what are the requirements, and how do they work? Well, for starters, Texas has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), so much of its prenup laws are modeled after that (see more on this in the next section). With that said, Texas has laid out in its statute what is required of a valid and enforceable prenup:
- Put the prenup in writing
- Make sure both parties sign it
- Make sure it is signed by both people voluntarily
- Make sure there is fair and reasonable financial disclosure
- The agreement is not unconscionable
- The agreement does not contain provisions against Texan law
- See Tex. Fam. Code §§ 4.001 to 4.010 for the fine print
Not only that, but there are restrictions on what you can put into the agreement, you can’t just put anything you want and expect a court to uphold it. The approved contents include:
- Property distribution upon divorce
- Property distribution upon death
- Spousal support clauses
- Some estate planning clauses
- Life insurance clauses
- Any other matter that does not violate state/federal law or public policy
- See Tex. Fam. Code §§ 4.001 to 4.010 for the fine print
The UPAA/UPMAA and Texas Law Explained
The UPAA (Uniform Premarital Agreement Act) is a set of guidelines that some states use when creating their laws on prenups. The UPAA is a way to make prenup laws uniform across all states. For example, requiring things like putting the prenup in writing and making sure there are signatures are some of the guidelines laid out by the UPAA. The UPMAA is a newer version of the UPAA and attempts to do the same thing but with stricter rules.
Twenty-eight states including the District of Columbia have adopted these guidelines. Texas is one of the states that has adopted the UPAA. For example, Texas has adopted the formalities of putting the prenup in writing and requiring signatures and some of the enforcement requirements. (See Tex. Fam. Code §§ 4.001 to 4.010).
Final Thoughts on Prenups and Prenup Lawyers in Austin
Finding a prenup lawyer in Austin is as easy as finding a barbecue joint in Austin… okay, maybe not THAT easy, but close! Just start by asking your network of people for recommendations, searching online, checking out the Texas Bar Association website, checking attorney reviews, and of course, don’t forget to do a trial run with potential attorneys.
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]