Is it legal for me to write my own premarital agreement or do I need an attorney? 29 Answers as of June 20, 2011

Is it legal for me to write my own premarital agreement or do I need an attorney?

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
Attorney certification is required. Premarital agreements can be more complicated than one would think.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/20/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
To be safe, you should have an attorney draft it.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 6/20/2011
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
You do not need an attorney if you are able to write an agreement that is acceptable to the court..
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/17/2011
Palomino Law Firm, P.C.
Palomino Law Firm, P.C. | Debra Palomino
It is legal for you to draft your own prenuptial agreement. However, it is recommended that you both have independent counsel review the agreement prior to executing it.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 6/17/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
While it is legal, it may be cheaper in the long run to get an attorney to do it for you since they often have experience in doing it and will most likely know what must be included and how to state it unequivocally and correctly. That's not to say you cannot do it, but it would be wiser to have an attorney do it. I've just done a couple of them in the last three months and they are more involved than you might initially think. Not only that, but they should be executed properly and both parties must make full disclosure and have counsel to make sure that you don't overbear upon your spouse to be or s/he doesn't overbear on you. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/17/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Any prenuptial agreement must conform to statutory specifications of the State where it is written. That means it must include necessary information and be executed in a manner consistent with State Statutes. If you are able to do such things on your own without the assistance of counsel, you may be able to create an enforceable agreement. If you fail to properly conform the document, it will be unenforceable.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    You do not need an attorney to draft a premarital agreement. However, if you want it to be effective at any divorce, then it would be wise to hire a lawyer. The cost to dispute issues at any divorce is far greater than the cost to have a legally sound premarital agreement drafted.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    There is nothing "illegal" about doing your own legal paperwork about anything. That is not, however, the right question. The right question is whether or not you can count on anything you prepare yourself being enforced at some time in the future. Only a competent attorney who is familiar with the law and how premarital agreements are handled in future litigation can help to answer that question. And, one of the most important questions in whether a premarital agreement will be enforced in the future will be whether both sides had the benefit of advice from an attorney and understood the full consequences of what they were doing. If you write the agreement and then convince the spouse-to-be to sign it without the benefit of legal counsel, you might not be able to enforce the agreement in the future.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Sure you can. It's America. However, without both of you having attorneys the chances of the agreement being enforceable are almost nill. This is a complex area.The agreement will do you no good if it isn't enforceable. Being properly informed and properly drafted is key to whether it is enforceable. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    Yes. It is certainly legal for you to write your own prenuptial agreement if you want to. Everyone has the right to represent themselves. However, it is probably not a good idea in this case. The requirements for having a valid prenuptial agreement can be quite complicated and it is very easy to do it incorrectly. A void prenuptial agreement is, of course, worth nothing. Therefore, depending on the circumstances, it may be worth while for you to involve attorneys in the drafting and execution of this document.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Rice & Co., LPA
    Rice & Co., LPA | Kollin Rice
    It is not illegal to write your own prenuptial agreement. However, these are fairly complicated instruments, and if you want it to be enforceable, it is probably a good idea to take it to a professional. This is one of those things that can very easily be messed up, possibly with serious consequences for one spouse or the other.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    Legal? yes. Smart to do this? No. Really no. The chances that something will go wrong and you will cause huge problems: 100%. A decent divorce attorney will be able to do this, for not too much money. Then you can sleep at night. And do this before you get married. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the telephone call and no charge for the first office visit.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    Yes. It should include all assets and debts in existence, and your incomes. Both parties must sign.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    Yes, you can write your own. However, if it does not meet the technical, legal requirements of a valid prenuptial agreement, it may not be enforceable. If you have sufficient assets to be concerned about protecting them, I would strongly suggest speaking with an experienced family law attorney and retaining them to assist you. It could potentially be money well spent! My office offers free initial telephone consultations if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail, as well as explore the potential rights and options available. If you would like to coordinate a free initial telephone consultation, please contact my office.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    You can writ any contract yourself, but there are certain requirement that should be in it to hold up in the event of court. it is always best to consult a lawyer now, rather to correct later.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    In CT there are certain statutory requirements that must be met so if you choose to do it yourself you would have to make sure you complied with those requirements.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Fredric H. Aaron, Attorney at Law, P.C.
    Fredric H. Aaron, Attorney at Law, P.C. | Fredric Harlan Aaron
    Although it is perfectly legal for you to draft your own prenuptial agreements, I would strongly recommend that you consult an experienced attorney to help you and your spouse to be before drafting and/or signing any agreement. The law of prenuptial agreements is very complex, and there is a strong chance that portions of your self-drafted agreement may violate provisions of New York State matrimonial law. If this occurs, such portions or even the entire agreement may be deemed void ab initio, meaning that it is unenforceable in a New York court. The money you spend on an attorney now to draft your prenuptial agreement will be far less than you will have to pay in the future if you go through a divorce and the prenuptial agreement is ruled invalid.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    In Georgia, there is nothing in the law that requires a pre-nuptial to be written by a lawyer. A pre-nuptial, however, is subject to certain drafting requirements in order to be enforceable in Court. If those requirements are not met, the agreement will be thrown out. That is why most people hire a lawyer to draft a pre-nuptial agreement.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    It is absolutely legal for you to do it yourself. It is also not a good idea. You need signatures of two witnesses, yours and your spouse-to-be's signatures, all notarized, and you must demand that your spouse be represented by an attorney, or you will (not might) have some serious enforcement problems down the line. I would just have attorneys handle it all, for both sides. It would be well worth it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    It is legal for you to write your own premarital agreement, but it may not be wise for you to do that, unless you are a California Family Law Attorney or at least well educated and/or versed in California Family Law. You may not be familiar, or sufficiently familiar, with the statutory and appellate case law relating to things that your premarital agreement addresses or should address, resulting in either a premarital agreement that is unenforceable, or a premarital agreement that has provisions against your own interests, and you won't be able to use your own ignorance as a defense to a premarital agreement that you write badly. Also, your fiance' will need to consult with a California Family Law Attorney, in any event, regarding the premarital agreement, and if she doesn't, it may render the premarital agreement unenforceable. If you have assets and rights worthy of protecting with a premarital agreement, you should seek the services of a California Family Law Attorney to advise and counsel you and prepare the premarital agreement on your behalf.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    It is legal for you to write the agreement, however it may not be enforceable. There are very specific requirements for a premarital agreement to be valid and enforceable. In order to protect yourself, you should contact an attorney to prepare the agreement for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Antenuptial or premarital agreements are not as simple as writing up what you want and getting your future spouse to sign. There must be evidence of negotiation, and they must be completed long before the wedding day to avoid the accusation that it was forced upon one of the parties. If you need a prenup you need a lawyer and your spouse to be needs a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Yes, it's perfectly legal for you to write your own prenuptial agreement, but the chances that it would hold up in court if challenged would be slim (in my opinion).
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    You aren't required to have an attorney, but the chances of a non-attorney preparing a pre-nup that will stand up in court are almost zero. If you are in my area and are looking for an attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    It's legal and one of the stupidest moves you could possibly make. A badly written prenuptial agreement will probably be ignored later, and, for trying to save a few hundred dollars, you will probably spend thousands fighting for enforcement of a flawed document. Such documents are inexpensive, and need to be done correctly. And, no, forms do not work.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    It is "legal" in the sense that the document is not required to be drafted by a lawyer. However, I would most strenuously recommend against it. The document must be drafted according to the requirements and nuances and substance of the law and a layperson would not be aware of these issues. As a lawyer, I get phone calls all the time from people who have represented themselves in legal proceedings or drafted legal documents and the find themselves in a world of trouble because they did not draft the document properly or it did not include issues that needed to be addressed; and sometimes these things cannot be "fixed" after the fact, even by a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    You can certainly write your own, but they are rather tricky and it is easy to make serious errors that would render it unenforceable. If you have enough assets that you want protection, then you should invest in an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
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