What is a CDFA?


A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, or CDFA, is a trained professional who has passed certain tests to become a financial analyst specializing in divorce issues.

What does a CDFA do?

CDFAs help clients understand the short- and long-term financial impacts of any proposed divorce settlement. They also provide valuable information on financial issues related to the divorce, such as tax consequences, dividing pension plans, continued health care coverage, stock option elections, and much more.

CDFAs also help the client’s legal team make financial sense of proposals. CDFAs provide expert witness testimony in trials and arbitrations. CDFAs can provide attorneys with tools they need to prevail in court.

Increasingly, CDFAs are finding their services called for in the mediation and family counseling arenas. Information helps alleviate fears and misunderstandings that surround money issues.

Should you hire a CDFA instead of an attorney?

Definitely not. The ICDFA, Institute of Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, highly recommends that any person getting a divorce seek legal counsel. Divorce is a legal process that requires professional advice, just as the financial aspects of a property settlement need analysis by a professional trained in the field.

Do CDFAs help only men or only women?

CDFAs are trained to advocate for men and women. The CDFA simply interprets the numbers and helps the parties find support for a case that takes both sides’ financial future into consideration. Can CDFAs act as a neutral party to help a couple reach a settlement?

Many CDFAs are also trained mediators and take a role in facilitative mediation and collaborative law. In this role, CDFAs do not act as attorneys and cannot offer legal advice. The ICDFA always recommends that any person going through a divorce receive independent legal advice.

Benefits of a divorce financial planner

Hiring a CDFA can bring enormous value to divorcing couples who are seeking to address, understand, and improve their financial needs and capabilities.

Here are 11 advantages to consulting a divorce financial planner:

1. Provide cost-effective guidance to the client to help reduce emotional distractions and make work sessions more productive.

2. Analyze tax implications of various scenarios for spousal and child support and marital and property division.

3. Eliminate potentially costly financial errors by providing detailed and precise reports.

4. Help clarify and analyze financial options so the client can make informed, intelligent, and timely financial decisions.

5. Provide cost-effective guidance to the client to help reduce emotional distractions and make work sessions more productive.

6. Provide reassessment of the client’s changing financial needs and lifestyle to help them move forward on a post-divorce basis.

7. Help improve the efficiency and profitability of your practice by allowing you to focus on what you do best.

8. Elevate the professional quality of casework through outsourcing to a financial expert who has up-to-date, specialized software and financial planning tools.

9. Help clients better understand and recognize the risks of going to trial.

10. Help manage expectations and increase client satisfaction, often resulting in additional referrals.

11. Serve as an intermediary to help reduce liability concerns related to financial issues.


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