How Much Does It Cost for a Prenuptial Agreement in New York?

If you and your spouse are considering a prenuptial agreement, understanding the ins and outs of this process can help you make a more informed decision. One aspect some couples misunderstand is the costs involved in creating a clear and enforceable prenuptial agreement.

While you may be able to create a prenuptial agreement on your own or with the help of online forms, most couples seek the assistance of an attorney so that they know the prenup they are creating will be done right.  Read on to learn “How much does it cost for a prenup in New York?”. 

Average Cost of a Prenuptial Agreement in New York

The cost to create a prenuptial agreement stems from the fees you will pay your attorney. There aren’t any filing fees involved in drafting a prenuptial agreement. However, you’ll want to work with an attorney to ensure that your contract is clear, concise, and legally binding.

Attorney fees can vary, but the average cost to create a prenup with an attorney in New York is between $3,000 and $8,000. The cost varies for several reasons including, how much negotiation is needed to discuss and agree on the terms,  which attorney is drafting the agreement, which attorney is reviewing, and how many revisions are needed.

Stages of the Prenuptial Agreement Process

Attorneys can help with a few different aspects of the prenuptial process:

  • Negotiating: Helping you advocate for your own needs and goals so that you can discuss these issues with your fiance, or your attorney can take on the role of advocate and speak directly to your fiance’s attorney.
  • Drafting: Creating a first draft of the prenuptial agreement based on the terms you have agreed to.
  • Reviewing: Reading and editing a prenuptial agreement that a mediator or the other attorney drafted.
  • Revising: Making changes to a drafted prenuptial agreement before it is signed.

Typically, attorneys charge by the hour for each of these tasks.

You may think you will save money if you and your fiance use an online form to draft a prenuptial agreement and then ask attorneys to review and revise it as needed. Because New York has specific requirements for prenuptial agreements, it is likely that you will spend more money this way than you would if you have an attorney or mediator create the first draft of a prenuptial agreement that is based on your specific needs.

Factors Affecting the Cost of a Prenup

Several factors can impact the final cost of your prenuptial agreement, including the following:

The Complexity of the Agreement

The complexity of your prenuptial agreement will always impact your overall cost. This is because more complicated agreements typically take longer to negotiate and draft. 

Some couples limit their prenups to protecting the assets they had prior to the marriage while others want to protect their rights and obligations related to spousal support, sharing of income, credits for how premarital assets are used, agreements for spending during the marriage, debts, and more. You and your fiance may also decide to include terms related to specific assets, such as the marital home, certain wedding gifts, or sentimental items. 

Don’t let the added cost deter you from making your prenuptial agreement detailed. The more specific your prenup is to your circumstances, the fewer issues you will need to deal with should you divorce.  The money you will save by avoiding a contentious divorce is invaluable because such a divorce can so negatively affect your wallet as well as your well-being.  Additionally, because all marriages end by death or divorce, you’ll also have peace of mind throughout the marriage knowing that you and your spouse have a clear understanding of what will happen at the end of your marriage. 

The Process You Use

Some couples meet with a mediator who will help them discuss all of the issues that are important to them and then each party hires an individual lawyer to provide each of them with legal advice and guidance during the mediation process. Those attorneys then review the prenup that the mediator drafts and make sure it is clear and enforceable before it is signed.

Other couples may find it difficult to have these conversations with each other, even if facilitated by a mediator. Instead, they prefer to hire individual lawyers who can facilitate these discussions through direct negotiations.  Please note that in New York, it is unethical for one attorney to represent both parties in connection with a prenuptial agreement.

If mediation is the right process for you and your fiance because you are both able to advocate effectively for what is important to you and find ways to reach an agreement, then that process will likely cost less than asking two individual lawyers to negotiate the terms. But mediation could end up costing more if you can’t reach an agreement due to a strong imbalance of power between you (including financial, emotional, or verbal imbalances). 

Choosing the right process based on the dynamic between you and your fiance is key.  If you want to save time, money and the well-being of your relationship, make sure you explore your options and speak with attorneys who can help lead you in the right direction.

Can You Make a DIY Prenuptial Agreement? 

Legally, you do not need to work with an attorney to create a prenuptial agreement. You can create a prenup yourself and sign it in the presence of a notary. Alternatively, several websites can walk you through the DIY notary process. 

However, prenuptial agreements are serious legal documents and need to meet specific requirements to be enforceable. These contracts can significantly impact your financial standing in the event of a divorce and can help you maintain sentimental, valuable property that you would not want to part with under any circumstances. 

Because prenups are so important, you should put in the effort to ensure that they reflect your wishes accurately and will hold up in court when you need them to. Working with an attorney is the best way to draft a legally binding, accurate, successful prenuptial agreement. 

So while you can make a DIY prenuptial agreement, we cannot recommend it if enforceability and clarity are important to you.

Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement? 

Weddings can be expensive, and you and your spouse may not want the additional expense of creating a prenuptial agreement. However, depending on your financial situation, creating a prenup now could help you save a significant amount of money in the future, should you and your spouse ever divorce. We suggest couples view this as an investment, as opposed to an expense.

While anyone can benefit from a prenuptial agreement, we specifically recommend them for parties bringing considerable assets into the marriage or those who expect to inherit wealth during the marriage. Creating a prenup can help each spouse keep their individual wealth separate from their shared marital property. 

Additionally, prenups are important for couples entering into second marriages where there may be children from the prior marriage who need to be supported and for couples where one or both parties are bringing significant debt into the marriage. A prenuptial agreement can make sure there’s an agreement about how obligations incurred prior to the marriage, whether those obligations be related to child support or debts, will be met. This can lead to less conflict during the marriage as well as afterward.

If you’re looking for a qualified attorney to help you understand how a prenup can help you and guide you to the most cost-effective process to meet your needs, call our team at Vacca Family Law Group at 212-768-1115 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.