I have noticed an increase in clients requesting assistance with interpreting and upholding Wisconsin prenuptial agreements. Often, a client is facing a challenge from the other spouse who is trying to throw out the agreement. In every case that I have reviewed, the main reason for the challenge is a poorly-written agreement. In some cases, the document was drafted by a lawyer who was not experienced with prenuptial agreements. In most cases, however, the problem exists because the parties used an online or stock form. There are many companies that provide such documents, usually at a relatively low cost. However, the adage “You get what you pay for” is never more true. The fact is, these agreements are completely worthless. They are not worth the paper they are written on.
First, the agreements specifically state that they provide no legal advice. This is because an actual lawyer has an ethical obligation of competence, knowledge, and care to each client. Online legal services likely have no such obligation, and usually specifically state that on the website. What you buy is a collection of words in a document. To complete and understand it, you are on your own.
Second, you do not usually have the benefit of consultation with an actual lawyer. Again, consultation would lead to a lawyer-client relationship. A good lawyer will understand what you want to accomplish, ask the right questions, and ensure that you understand your prenuptial agreement. He will then draft the agreement to comply with state law, to accomplish your goals.
Third, the laws governing prenuptial agreements are different in each state. Wisconsin’s rules are set partially by state statute, partially by judge-made case law. A non-lawyer, or even a lawyer not licensed in Wisconsin, cannot adequately advise you on the application of these rules. Therefore, even if you review notes on a website, or have a minimal telephone “consultation” with a website representative, you will not receive a document that you can rely on.
Fourth, every prenuptial agreement that I have reviewed from one of these “legal mills” is, frankly, a mess. The documents are generally full of misspellings, poor grammar, outdated legal citations, outdated or useless terms, and poor formatting.
I presume that no one wants to take the time and money to draft a prenuptial agreement that is unreliable. I also presume that you want the prenuptial agreement because it is important to you for protection and peace of mind. It is true that it will be more expensive for a lawyer to draft your Wisconsin prenuptial agreement. However, this is an important step in your life. It makes no sense to waste your time and money in this process. In my opinion, prenuptial agreements from online legal mills are exactly that-a waste.
Our firm has extensive experience drafting Wisconsin prenuptial agreements. Please call us at 608-709-5000 for a free consultation. We will take the time you need and provide you with a worthwhile and reliable document.