It is essential for both parties to have an attorney, because the parties are dealing with a complicated legal relationship and complicated laws regulating how prenuptial agreements are drafted and processed. The attorneys can also act as intermediaries between the spouses, who often find it difficult to sit down face-to-face and negotiate the fine details of a prenuptial agreement. It can help facilitate the process rather than aggravate the process if the couple is properly represented by qualified attorneys. It is not a bad idea for the parties to sit down in advance and talk about what sorts of things they want in the agreement and what areas they were concerned about so they could then take that list of concerns to the attorneys.
How Can An Attorney Help The Negotiations?
In order to be a good legal counsel for someone in a prenuptial agreement, both attorneys need to keep a cool head and understand that a prenuptial agreement is just like any other agreement so both parties should anticipate there will be a certain amount of negotiation. If the husband’s attorney comes up with an initial, fairly one-sided draft, then he would be doing so largely based on his expectation that the attorney for the wife will demand changes to the agreement that will get them to some sort of middle ground. His client will end up in a less favorable position once all the terms are negotiated if he starts his proposal at the middle ground position. It can be somewhat of a tricky situation, which is why I recommend that people who are doing prenuptial agreements require experienced legal counsel on the other side rather than getting someone who has only minimal experience negotiating prenuptial agreements and who might convince his client that the initial offer was unfair and it somehow reflects a lack of affection.
Attorneys need to be very cautious in that regard because they can inflict significant damage to a relationship where none is intended, because of the perception that what the parties are really trying to do is negotiate the terms of their love. The wife often gets her feelings hurt more easily than the husband and has a more difficult time emotionally dealing with the realities of negotiating a prenuptial agreement, so the attorney for the wife has to be particularly sensitive to this phenomenon and not create an adverse atmosphere that could make the wife question whether the husband really has her best interests at heart.
How Long Does This Process Take?
It can take only a week or two depending on the circumstances. If it is relatively straightforward, the parties work well and the attorneys are diligent about reviewing drafts and getting back comments, or the parties are highly motivated because their wedding day is coming up and they know that in order for it to be enforceable it has to be delivered to the other party for a review not less than seven days prior to the wedding, then they can be pushed as quickly as need be.
However, typically takes a month to two months for more complicated agreements. The process involves one attorney preparing an initial draft which is then sent to the opposing party’s attorney for review. He or she goes over with it with his or her client, and they would get back to the drafting attorney with comments. The drafting attorney would then review those comments with his client, put them into a new revised draft, and send it back to the attorney for review. I recommend that the sooner they start the process, the better off the parties will be because there would be less pressure, and the negotiating process would be more civil because no one would be forced to agree to any terms. Someone who was planning on getting married and planning on having a prenuptial agreement should start the process no later than about two months prior to the wedding date.
What Costs Are Associated With The Prenuptial Agreement?
The cost for prenuptial agreements can be considerable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, these agreements typically require a fair amount of the attorney’s time to negotiate once the parties start dealing with the details of the relationship and because the attorney cannot know what sort of response he will get from the other side when he starts the representation. Typically, both attorneys put a considerable amount of time into the process if the agreement is well-drafted and well-negotiated. Another reason is because these agreements can represent time bombs for the attorneys. They may not be enforced for 10, 15, or 20 years, but the attorney remains liable if one or both the parties feel that somehow there was malpractice in the representation. Attorneys have to price their representation accordingly, so they take that sort of deferred liability into account. The minimum price for prenuptial agreements is around $5,000 per side but it can go up from there. The parties going into it should anticipate that it would be a relatively pricey venture on their part to get the agreement done.
For more information on How An Attorney Can Help, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (916) 635-0302 today.