Our team of financial professionals—which includes a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™) —realizes that disagreements regarding money are among the most common factors that contribute to the breakdown of many marriages. We address the financial aspects of a divorce in an objective, professional, and timely manner by providing knowledgeable divorce financial planning, consulting, education, and analysis.
There are a wide variety of complicated financial decisions that will need to be made before, during, and after your divorce. We will work closely with you and your attorney to help you navigate the complexities of divorce while planning for a brighter future.
Review our list of essential information to gather when preparing for a divorce.
Going through a divorce is not straightforward. Read our list of important issues to consider.
Budgeting After a Divorce
The Importance of Working with a CDFA®
It is essential to distinguish between a CDFA® professional and other financial experts, who go by various titles, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®).
Financial Planners Help Clients Achieve GoalsThe role of the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) is to help people achieve their financial goals regardless of whether they are divorcing or happily married. The financial planner looks at financial results in the future based on certain assumptions made today and keeps the client moving toward stated objectives.
Accountants Examine Details for Present DayConversely, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) typically confine themselves to examining the details of a present-day scenario. If called upon to participate in a divorce proceeding, they might calculate the taxes on dividing property combined with the effect of child support and spousal support over a brief period. They typically do not project further into the future. They also may be retained to perform an audit of account activity or to perform forensic accounting functions to help uncover “hidden assets".
CDFA® Professionals’ Responsibilities and the Team ApproachTo best meet the needs of a divorcing client, a blend of these two ideologies is needed. The role of the CDFA® professional is to help both the client and lawyer understand how the financial decisions made today will impact the client’s financial future, based on certain assumptions.
A CDFA® professional is someone who comes from a financial planning, accounting, or legal background and goes through an intensive training program to become skilled in analyzing and providing expertise related to the financial issues of divorce. The CDFA professional becomes part of the divorce team, providing litigation support for the lawyer and client, or becomes a member of a Collaborative Law team. In either event, the CDFA® professional will be responsible for:
• Identifying the short- and long-term effects of dividing property• Integrating tax issues• Analyzing pension and retirement plan issues• Determining if the client can afford the matrimonial home—and if not, what might be an affordable alternative• Evaluating the client’s insurance needs• Establishing assumptions for projecting inflation and rates of return• Bringing an innovative and creative approach to settling cases
The CDFA® professional also:
• Provides the client and lawyer with data that shows the financial effect of any given divorce settlement• Appears as an expert witness if the case should go to court, or in mediation or arbitration proceedings• Is familiar with tax issues that apply to divorce• Has background knowledge of the legal issues in divorce
The CDFA® professional is trained to interview clients to:
• Collect financial and expense data• Help clients identify their future financial goals• Develop a budget• Set retirement objectives• Identify what kind of lifestyle they want and can afford• Determine the costs of their children’s education