Post # 1
So I’m in sort of an interesting situation. My fiance and I really want to get a prenup together. We think it’s vitally important to our marriage. The main reason for our prenup is to protect one another from our debts. I will be in school for many more years and do not want him to be responsible for the debt I accrue over those years and vice versa.
Our problem lies with cost. We really don’t have the thousands of dollars it will take to have seperate legal counsel, which is advised in my state (Oregon) but not absolutely neccessary for the validity of the contract (in my understanding, if we both waive the right to legal counsel, it will be legally viable).
What I want to do is to draft a prenup together with my Fiance (we basically have this done, just a few more things to go over), and have it looked over in a consultation for a much lower fee, where they would advise on certain aspects of the contract we drafted together. I’m wondering if that’s still considered proper legal counsel? If not, is there a way to get legal counsel for a lower fee?
If anyone has experience with this, please let me know! I would love to find a solution that doesn’t cost thousands of dollars!
Post # 2
phasersettostun : What about zoom legal? They are an online resource. You can also call around some lawyers are just starting out and need to build a client base so out might be cheaper (but not if they are at a huge firm). But I’d ask around you might be able to just pay per item (ie draft it, and check out) aka per diem. Or ask for a price that’s not hourly some will some won’t..
Post # 3
Coming from someone in the legal field, when it comes to a document like this it’s important to have your own legal counsel to protect yourself, as that’s what you’re doing in the first place, trying to protect yourself and each other.
It’s not required but highly recommended. A lawyer acting for both of you won’t have your best interests in mind in the same way a lawyer acting for just you or just your Fiance would because the lawyer acting for both of you is obligated to represent you both.
If you do decide to call around ask for an associate lawyer, not a partner, or someone lower down in the chain, but keep in mind newer lawyers may not do this. Smaller boutique law firms tend to also have higher prices than all-service, larger firms most of the time but that’s not always the case. Chances are that’s who you will get from cold calling but associate lawyers will have lower fees than partners, but that’s only if they have a lawyer practicing family law, if the only lawyer practicing family law at a firm is a partner that’s going to be expensive regardless.
Keep in mind that while this is costing you money, it’s a choice you made to protect yourself and you’re better off forgoing the easy route and doing it properly to protect the both of you, separately and together. You don’t want a document that could be easily challenged in court during a divorce, and drafting your own document with legal advice on it will have those particular loop holes any divorce lawyer is looking for.
Your reasons for wanting a prenup sound valid, however because of your reasons I would highly recommend letting a lawyer take care of this for you.
Post # 4
Technically you should each have a separate lawyer. Otherwise later on the agreement could be challeneged for not having obtained independent legal advice and/or one of you being “pressured” into signing the agreement (for whatever reason). When things are all rosey and happy, it’s all good but when things turn bitter, people make things up to get out of agreements and that is the reason why you get lawyers to draw up proper agreements in accordance with the existing statute and case law in order to protect yourself in the event of things like marriage, joint ventures, businesses etc failing. Marriage ain’t a business but in the eyes of the law, it pretty much functions like that and especially in the eyes of creditors (you mentioned that you don’t want your Fiance to be exposed to your debt – that becomes complicated because while you two are together, potentially he is exposed but prenup will only operate when you get divorced and you try to assign the debt to your ex husband and the ex husband can whip out the prenup and say ah ha you can’t do that because of the prenup. I don’t think the creditors can pursue the ex spouse when the debt hasn’t been assigned to the other person.. Anyway you need to consult the family lawyer about this and see what would be the most effective way to indemnify your Fiance during marriage and in the event of a marital breakdown).
Also one lawyer should not be acting for both of you (just like in any other family law matters) since technically you are acting against each other (no matter how amicable and agreeable you are right now) and therefore there is a conflict of interest there for the lawyer. The lawyer would be bound by their professional rules to not put themselves in that kinda situation.
So you should each be represented by a separate lawyer if you want the agreement to stand at a later date. And yes lawyers do cost thousands of dollars depending on how complicated the agreement becomes. Perhaps you should look for a fixed fee agreement with the lawyers and then save up for it. Its better to have it drawn up properly than have it later set aside by court.