Frequently Asked Questions

What is a divorce financial consultant?

 

A CDFA®  will help you and your attorney understand how your divorce agreement will impact your future financial stability. The CDFA®  will help identify short-term and long-term effects of dividing marital property,  and if possible, assist you in proposing an alternative property division settlement that ensures a better financial future for you. The expert will also review your financial information and project how much money you need to maintain your current lifestyle after your divorce.


A CDFA®  can help you determine if you can (or should) keep your marital home, identify future financial goals, develop a budget, and identify any divorce-related tax consequences. If necessary, the CDFA®  can also testify as an expert financial witness on your behalf during the trial.

Do I need to hire a professional?

 

Not all divorcing couples need a certified divorce financial analyst, but it’s very common for spouses to underestimate the real value of their assets. If you and your spouse own a business, significant property, or retirement and investment accounts, it might be in your best interest to hire a professional. Valuing pension accounts can be especially complicated, and a CDFA®  can assist you in making sure you pay or receive what is equitable.


Even in cases where you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse don’t have many assets to divide, if you’re unsure of how you’ll stay on your feet financially after the divorce, a CDFA®  can help you create a post-divorce budget.


Specifically, if you need assistance with any of the following, a qualified CDFA®  may be able to help you:

  • valuing and dividing retirement accounts, pensions, and investments
  • determining the amount and duration of spousal support (alimony)
  • setting up a post-divorce budget
  • valuing assets and debts, and the financial implications of the proposed property settlement
  • valuing the marital home, especially if one spouse owned the property before the marriage and asked to recoup premarital contributions in the final agreement, and
  • determining the tax implications of property division, child support,  and alimony.

How can I know which accountant is right for me?

 

Like attorneys, not all financial analysts are the same.  Often attorneys or therapists may have existing relationships with professionals. 


When finding a professional on your own, be sure to verify the CDFA’s credentials to ensure the analyst meets state standards. According to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, a CDFA must have a minimum of three years of professional experience in finance or divorce and a 4-year bachelor’s degree to enroll in certification programs. Once enrolled, prospective CDFAs must complete a minimum of four exams before becoming certified.


To remain in good standing, CDFAs must maintain their certification by paying an annual fee and providing proof of divorce-related continuing education every two years. Before you proceed with hiring your analyst, ask for proof of current license or certification.

If you’re going through a divorce or you see divorce in your near future, consider hiring a certified divorce financial analyst to prepare a thorough analysis of your finances to help prevent you from signing a marital settlement agreement that will hurt you in the future.