After attending a presentation by Brian Galbraith and Sue Cook at this year’s FACP Conference, I have become intrigued by the idea of offering fixed fee Collaborative Divorce for middle class and lower middle-class clients. I even believe it can work in upper middle-class cases.
Galbraith and Cook have started a successful program in Canada. The key to their process is setting detailed client expectations before the process begins, lots of homework by the clients and a process that requires the attorneys to stay within their roles of “keeping the clients in the process” while the neutrals do their thing,
Of utmost importance in their program is the survey that all participants must take. This proprietary survey, called Separation Divorce Readiness Indicator measures many factors including such things as children concerns, coping strategies, emotional stage, financial concerns, behavior factors, negotiation skills, power imbalances, and trust. The program measures the complexity of the case to determine what level of fixed fee the case best fits.
Currently the Canadian model has only one level of fee, $18,000. By setting expectations early in the process, the program has shown success in its first cases. As part of those expectations and the agreement signed, if a case cannot be finished in the prescribed time the parties have the option of continuing on an hourly basis at the professionals agreed-upon reduced rates.
Based on the Canadian model, I am launching a fixed fee program of my own. I will be utilizing the Separation Divorce Readiness Indicator to assist in assessing the fee. Fixed fees will range from as little as $10,000 to a maximum of $32,000.
I am beginning an aggressive advertising campaign to sell this idea.
If you would like to be a part of this program, or if you know someone who could benefit from a fixed fee Collaborative Divorce, contact me.
I look forward to working with you.