Three Reasons You Need an Attorney for Your Prenuptial Agreement
A quick Google search will reveal that there are many websites selling self-service prenuptial agreements, or in other words, prenuptial agreement forms you can purchase online, download and fill out yourself. Some of these online prenuptial agreements you purchase and do yourself without the assistance of an attorney can be tantalizingly cheap. It can be very tempting to simply purchase an online prenuptial agreement form rather than spend a little extra to have your prenuptial agreement prepared by a licensed and experienced prenup attorney. Do not give in to this temptation! If something seems to good to be true, it probably is. Also, when it comes to legal work and legal documents, you often get what you pay for. Prenuptial agreements can easily be invalidated for being executed improperly, having improper wording, being signed at the wrong time, and for a myriad of other reasons, some which will be specific to your situation. Unless you have a law degree and are highly experienced in prenups, if you prepare your own you risk having it be not enforceable when you need it the most. And, if your prenuptial agreement is invalidated, default California community property law applies in your dissolution, taking your division of assets out of your hands and placing it in the hands of a judge.
Here are the top three reasons why you should have an attorney assist you with your prenup:
1) A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT IS A VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENT. A thorough, properly drafted and properly executed prenuptial agreement will help you sail through a divorce and emerge from a difficult time relatively unscathed financially and emotionally. A poorly or improperly drafted prenup could mean years spent in court and tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on attorneys. Take the time and little extra money to make sure you are protected from this emotional and financial disaster!
2) SPEND NOW, SAVE LATER. Contested divorces can cost tens of thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars. I've seen people spend their live savings out of bitterness and spite, without realizing they are only hurting themselves. Attorneys are expensive. Having an attorney go to court for you is usually $1000-$2000 for one court appearance. You can avoid court altogether and drastically minimize your legal fees if you go into a divorce with a solid prenuptial agreement. Having an experienced attorney prepare your prenup may seem expensive at the time, but if you end up needing it, it will be well worth your investment.
3) THE LAW IS ALWAYS CHANGING. Prenups are tricky, and even the most "simple" prenuptial agreements have a lot of very specific rules and requirements for how they need to be drafted, what they can and cannot say, what they can and cannot include, and even how, when, and where they are supposed to be signed. To make matters even more complicated, the law regarding prenuptial agreements is always changing. General family law practitioners can keep up with the law to some extent, but a true prenup attorney, like the ones at West Coast Prenup, make it their job to be educated on the law on prenups up to the very minute, to make sure yours is enforceable. Prenup forms you purchase online are very unlikely to be kept up to date to meet the changing prenuptial agreement rules. Even if the contract itself would be enforceable, an innocent mistake in how, or when it gets signed can make the whole thing invalid. Having someone to walk you through each step of your prenup and make sure everything is done correctly, both legally and procedurally, can make the difference between an enforceable, and unenforceable prenuptial agreement.
It may seem pricey to have an attorney assist you with your prenup, but if you look at it as an investment in your future, and something that, if done properly can save you (a significant amount of) money in the future, not to mention the savings on your mental and emotional state from avoiding a drawn out and contested divorce, it begs the question - why wouldn't you get an attorney for your prenup?