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Patterns In Motivating Factors In Prenup Negotiations: A Qualitative Case Study

Prenuptial agreements (prenups) are similar to traditional long-term financial contracts between two entities. However, there are some key differences between prenups and other kinds of contracts, particularly in the social and relational factors that can influence people’s decision-making in the negotiation process. So, in this project, I interviewed seven lawyers in the Denver area with significant experience negotiating prenuptial agreements about how social factors influence the prenup negotiation process. Through thematic analysis of transcripts of these semi-structured interviews, several themes emerged from the data ranging from “power imbalances” and “familial pressure” to “lawyer intervention” and “the law itself.” This study found that factors like familial pressure and significant wealth gaps can alter negotiation dynamics and occasionally create power imbalances, but the representation lawyers provide helps counteract those imbalances. This project and further research examining these themes can help inform policy and jurisprudence surrounding the formation/enforcement of prenuptial agreements.