It sounds absurd, but some family lawyers actually don’t want you to get a prenup even though it’s part of their job. The key to unlocking this mystery lies in the bread and butter of the family law industry: divorce through litigation.
Every Wedding is New Inventory
It’s a bit bleak, but when you get married, you essentially become inventory for family lawyers. You replenish the pool of prospective divorces that family lawyers thrive upon. In fact, messy and complicated divorces are quite lucrative for family law attorneys. Litigated cases cost people an average of $17,500 in California in attorney’s fees, but in cities like Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, the fees can be much higher — closer to a minimum of $25,000 per party.
Since divorces are big business, some family lawyers focus heavily on fueling the fire in order to churn fees, rather than finding solutions. When a divorce is long and drawn out because of tangled financial matters, the only people who win are the lawyers.
On the other hand, simple divorces with a prenup don’t rack up as many billable hours.
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Prenups Cost Divorce Attorneys Money
When you get married in California without a prenup, the State will use its default laws to determine how money matters are settled. It can get complicated and expensive.
Attorneys will find ways to spend your money. They’ll apply creative interpretations of laws regarding division of your property and how much spousal support should be paid and for how long. They’ll argue why certain accounting methods or theories should be used to properly calculate your income and trace your bank accounts. They’ll make the case that the gift you got from your parents was not your gift, but a gift to both of you. In the end, your hard earned money will be spent on how to divide what little amount will be left, not to mention the valuable time and emotional toll it takes on your whole family.
By contrast, prenups typically make the divorce process much smoother and take less time. The rules of the marriage (and divorce) are specifically laid out for the attorneys and Judge to follow. Little is left to interpretation, and any issues that may remain are minimal to resolve while incurring minimal billable hours.
Consequently, a lot of family lawyers have little incentive to draft prenups for engaged couples. If they did, they would most likely miss out on potential future income for themselves and the industry as a whole.
Prenups also have many other benefits for married couples. Not only do they offer financial protection in an unforeseeable breakup, but more importantly, it forces couples to have important and vital conversations about money. A well crafted prenuptial agreement enables you and your spouse to customize a fair and mutually beneficial contract that details how financial affairs are handled if the marriage were to come to an end, as well as how financial matters will be handled during your marriage.
Simply put — more prenups mean less money for family lawyers who are hungry for divorce revenue.
What’s Truly Important: Healthy Families
I’ll probably get some slack from other family law attorneys for this article (in fact, I already have). But the truth is, as family lawyers, we can positively impact the health of our communities. It’s part of our mission at Hekmat Law & Mediation.
Families are the building blocks of society. When we help each person, couple, and family find success and achieve their relationship goals, the benefits trickle out into our neighborhoods, towns, and cities. I’ve seen it happen over the last decade.
Whether it’s a thriving marriage rooted in a mutually beneficial prenup or individuals finding peace after divorce, it’s beautiful to see the positive effects of a mindful and heartful approach to marriage and the law. Let us know if we can help you craft an agreement that enables you to find marital success in addition to being protected for the unexpected.