A common misconception is that, somehow, all prenuptial agreements are the same, and you’ve either got one or you don’t. Another frequent misconception is that such agreements inherently favor one spouse over another. A prenuptial agreement is simply a contract between two people who are not yet married that includes financial terms about their marriage. What those specific terms are is up to the parties getting married. A prenuptial agreement serves two general functions: determining the legal framework that will be applicable to the financial aspects of your marriage, and/or agreeing to certain financial-related facts about the marriage. I work with parties to create durable, transparent, and comprehensive prenuptial agreements that meet my clients’ needs while being enforceable when it matters.
There are a number of processes by which to create an amicable and mutually beneficial prenuptial agreement, ranging from one party creating a draft with his or her attorney and then presenting it to the other party and attorney for review, to both parties working with a neutral mediator to collaboratively creating the terms of an agreement. I provide all services relating to the negotiation and drafting of a prenuptial agreement, including drafting a proposed agreement on behalf of one party; reviewing, providing counsel and negotiating on behalf of a party presented with a prenuptial agreement; collaboratively working with counsel for the other would-be-spouse to draft an agreement; and acting as a mediator for two partners to draft an agreement in a neutral setting. See my Blog page for further resources about prenuptial agreements.
In my experience, no. I’ve worked in various roles on many prenuptial agreements, and I have never witnessed that dynamic. People, however, do understand the realities of both the potential for divorce and the extreme financial and emotional stresses that can come with a contested divorce, and thus realize that entering into a prenuptial agreement can provide clarity and protections for both parties while serving to potentially minimize the consequences of future litigation.
In my career, I’ve seen a number of “downloaded” prenuptial agreements, and not once have I ever seen that actually says what the person asserting the agreement thinks it says, while at the same time being legally enforceable. California has strict rules regarding prenuptial agreements, and an agreement is only effective if it is enforceable. Given the financial significance of a prenuptial agreement, it is a risk trying to save a few bucks by avoiding having an attorney advise you on the terms and potential enforceability of the agreement.
It’s probably not a bad thing that your fiance’s lawyer recommends a lawyer for you. I have a network of other competent family law attorneys who work on prenuptial agreements and are easy to work with while still zealously representing the interests of their clients. Do your own research on any attorneys recommended to you, but not this is not inherently a red flag.