If you have rejected the idea of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement because you think they are too expensive to obtain, you should think again. While the cost of a prenup in New York can vary greatly depending on various factors, these documents offer significant benefits that can save you time and money in the event you elect to dissolve your marriage.
What Factors Affect the Cost of a Prenup or Postnup?
An experienced attorney in New York will probably charge somewhere in the mid-four figures for a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that is not heavily negotiated. The fee is driven mostly by the nature and extent of the negotiations needed to come to an agreement. The more you and your fiancé or spouse go back and forth regarding asset division, spousal support and inheritance rights, the higher the cost to obtain an agreement which can often times be well into the five figures.
If you have significant assets or several different types of assets, that may also drive up the cost of a prenup if it makes it harder for you and your spouse to agree on how you want them to be handled in the event of divorce.
How Can You Save Money on a Prenup?
A good way to save money when negotiating a prenup or postnup is to use a term sheet. This is a document that outlines the key terms of the agreement. Its purpose is to confirm what both parties want in the agreement before the attorney starts drafting. It is less expensive and faster to keep revising the term sheet during negotiations rather than going back and forth rewriting a contract. Only when both parties complete the term sheet should the attorney begin drafting the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Also, key to keeping costs down is for the parties themselves to directly negotiate the document and use the lawyers to discuss questions that arise during the negotiations. Most family law attorneys bill by the hour in tenth or quarter of an hour intervals. Thus, less time spent speaking with the attorney translates into a lower legal bill because fewer hours were spent on the matter.
When Is a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement Worth Getting?
Even if you aren’t rich, you and your fiancé/spouse may have separate income, assets and debt that may affect your marriage. Maybe you also have kids from another marriage that you want to protect. Prenups can help many marriages by getting couples to discuss and agree on how they want to deal with finances during marriage. A prenup also forces couples to fully disclose their finances so both sides understand their separate and joint financial situation and expectations. This can help avoid future problems that can tear apart a marriage. If divorce does occur, having a prenup where you already decided how to divide assets and determine support can save significant time and money. Divorces are costly and time-consuming in large part because of couples fighting over their finances.
Prenups and postnups are contracts that should always be negotiated and vetted by an attorney. If you are considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, please contact us to find out how we can help.