Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 4, 2020

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A pre-marital agreement is a legal document created by a couple in order to determine who will get what in the event of a divorce. The cost of drafting and legalizing such a contract will vary depending on your chosen method, but you can generally expect to pay a small lawyer’s fee and perhaps a fee for notarization in order to make the document official.

How can I estimate the cost of a pre-nuptial agreement?

First, you need to consider how you intend to create your document. If you and your spouse agree on the terms and the property in question is not substantial, you may agree to write your own prenuptial agreement. This is legally permissible and, provided you follow the laws for official documentation in your state, it will be considered a legally binding contract.

Writing your own pre-nuptial agreement will only incur the cost of having it notarized or witnessed by a judge or lawyer. This fee can vary but typically ranges from $15 (for a notary) to $40 or $50 (for a court-witnessed signing).

Be aware that if you make an error in the creation of the contract, that error could become costly in the event that you get divorced and the agreement isn’t upheld.

What if my pre-marital agreement involves complicated distributions?

If you and your spouse aren’t sure how to divide the property, if there are complex holdings in question, or if the amount of property in question is significant, then it may be in your best interest to obtain the assistance of a lawyer. Some people choose to have two lawyers, with one for each spouse, but this isn’t always necessary.

A lawyer will sit down with you and provide assistance as you write the terms of the contract. He or she will also ensure that all steps taken are legally binding and will assist with the proper documentation of the agreement. A lawyer’s fee for this type of service will vary depending on the complexity of your case. An average lawyer’s fee is approximately $250 per hour. You can calculate the possible cost based on how many hours you believe your situation will require.