The saying goes, “everything is negotiable.” I haven’t found that to be true when it comes to Maryland divorce costs. Prior to the economic decline in 2009, most divorce professionals, including divorce financial planners, would not negotiate their fee, and pretty much “the sky was the limit” for fees in highly contested, litigated cases. But that was when the divorce rate was greater than 50% and individuals had little concern about their future employment or their investments (real estate and retirement).
Consumers have learned from experienced friends or relatives that paying excessive divorce fees is truly throwing your money away. Divorce attorneys now tell me that times have changed. Prospective clients shop for rates, give attorneys a “pot” to work with, or tell attorneys to “get it done” as fast and as inexpensive as possible. Is it time for a “sea change” regarding fees for all the professionals?
A committee of the Howard County Collaborative Professionals has been reviewing the structure and costs of Collaborative Divorce cases. Their mission is to make the process more cost effective. Being part of this committee, I can tell you that serious consideration is being given to making part of the process subject to a fixed fee.
Fixing a fee is extremely difficult for divorce professionals. We never know how long the tasks will take; how long one side or the other will hold out; how many meetings will be needed; what will “come out of the closet” midstream, etc.
Taking the construction project approach, Faggio Financial is pleased to announce that we now offer two alternatives to our traditional hourly rate engagement. Similar to unexpectedly finding a bearing wall, we will issue a “change order” if a client’s needs exceed the package that they sign up for.
Our Lite and Plus programs include varying amounts of meetings, phone calls, and reports, and cost accordingly. If our client’s needs change, we will give them a quote to “move the wall” and finish the project. Exclusions and provisions are provided in our program downloads.
John Faggio is a Maryland Divorce Financial Planner. If you are going through divorce or know someone who is, email us or call John today at 410-988-7333 to discuss how to gain control of your divorce costs.