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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Legal > Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial Agreement Cost


How Much Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cost?

 
low costLow: Do-It-Yourself From $10-$250average costMedium: Attorney Starts Around $250-$850high costHigh: Complex Cases Can Run $2,500-$50,000

Also called a prenup, premarital or antenuptial agreement, a prenuptial agreement is a contract signed by a couple before they marry. It clearly lays out which spouse gets what if in the event of a divorce, and can include instructions about how property should be divided after the death of a spouse.

Typical costs:

  • ExpertLaw.com provides a free sample prenuptial agreement form[1] . Do-it-yourself books, kits or computer software[2] are available for $10-$50, and there are several online services that will walk you through the document creation process click-by-click for $100-$250.
  • Having an attorney draw up a prenuptial agreement starts around $250-$850 for an extremely straightforward document designating how a minimal amount of property should be distributed; runs $1,000-$2,500 for a slightly more complex document covering more property and can be $2,500-$50,000 for a prenup involving multiple assets, estate planning and complex negotiations between attorneys representing each spouse. Psychology Today[3] magazine estimates the average cost of a prenup at $2,500-$7,000.
  • Typically an attorney will either charge a flat fee for the whole process or an hourly rate of $100-$350, although a few attorneys charge $400-$500/hour. You will need to pay the attorney an advance fee known as a retainer; it's based either on the flat fee or an estimated number of hours of work.
Related articles: Divorce, Estate Planning, Financial Planner, Tax Returns

What should be included:
  • A prenup can be considered part of a good asset protection plan, like a will or a power of attorney, and can spell out the distribution of assets acquired both before and during the marriage, such as the distribution of an individual inheritance or a retirement plan. Traditionally used when one spouse comes to the marriage with significantly more assets than the other, prenups are also used by people of more equal and/or modest means to outline financial rights and responsibilities during marriage, specify which assets will go to offspring from previous marriages, protect spouses from each other's existing debts, preserve business assets, and other objectives.
  • Prenups are most effective when they deal exclusively with property and assets. They can't dictate child custody arrangements (state law will still apply) and have sometimes been ruled invalid when they dip into lifestyle issues. Nolo Press provides a detailed overview of prenups.
  • An attorney will consult with you about what needs to be included in the document, draft and revise a contract, and negotiate with the attorney representing the interests of the other spouse. Each prospective spouse must have his or her own attorney; some prenups have been ruled invalid because they were drawn up by a lawyer hired by one spouse but advising both. FindLaw.com explains the standard criteria for a valid prenuptial agreement and 10 reasons a prenup might be invalid[4] .
  • While it's considerably cheaper to create your own prenup, be sure the documents are valid in your state and appropriate for your circumstances. Although Nolo Press is usually a strong advocate of self-help legal work, it recommends hiring lawyers
Shopping for a prenuptial agreement:
  • Ask about an attorney's education, experience, expertise and style -- for the prenup process you want someone who's a collaborative negotiator, not a prosecutor, and skilled in family law.
  • Referrals to family law attorneys are available through Martindale-Hubbell Legal Network's Lawyer Locator[5] or FindLaw.com[6] .
  • Your attorney should provide you with a written fee agreement. Be sure you understand what is covered, and any other fees and expenses you might have to pay.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Miami FL Prenuptial
Amount: $2,500.00 total
Posted by: KrazyKiefer in Miami, FL.Posted: April 10th, 2010 09:04AM
Law Firm: Law Offices of Fishman-Sitbon, P.A.Amount Per Hour: 300
After discussing a prenuptial, went through 3 weeks of not speaking with fiance over the issue. Had to have family and priest mediate. Then sat down to do painful business of prenuptial using online service LegalZoom.com. At the end of hard deliberations and painful discussions the site announces it is unable to complete prenuptial agreements in the state of Florida. ARE YOU KIDDING? Finally bit the bullet and paid a lawyer $2500.00 Don't put yourself through the stress. Just get a lawyer. An online document is going to need to be reviewed and that will probably cost a grand. So you save yourself $1000.00 but you put yourself and fiance through agony. Online is not worth it.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.expertlaw.com/library/family_law/prenuptial_agreement_form.html
  2.  www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=prenuptial+pre...
  3.  www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200501/prenup-particulars
  4.  family.findlaw.com/marriage/top-10-reasons-a-premarital-agreement-may-be-invalid.html
  5.  www.martindale.com/Find-Lawyers-and-Law-Firms.aspx
  6.  www.findlaw.com/
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