What Is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst? (And Why You Need One)

Going through a divorce can be messy. Aside from the emotional and mental toll, you can also experience a financial toll. Here are the reasons you should hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to help you through the divorce.

Going through a divorce can be messy. Heightened negative emotions are involved and can get in the way of your judgment. In marriages where you and your partner joined all your resources (except if there is a prenup in place), you have to figure out a way on who gets what when it comes to your assets and joint finances.

While going through a divorce is an emotional process, it is best to have a neutral third party handle the legal and financial aspects. One such expert is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). Read on to know more about what CDFA is and why you need one to help you sort out your finances through your divorce

What is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)?

A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) uses its knowledge of tax law, asset distribution, and short- and long-term financial planning to achieve equitable divorce settlements. A CDFA can provide in-depth financial analysis and advice to attorneys and divorcing couples relating to the divorce.

Before becoming a CDFA, individuals must first have several years of experience in the field and pass an exam designed by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA) to receive the designation.

What Does a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Do?

The services that certified divorce financial analysts provide in divorce proceedings are the following:

  • Valuing assets and debts
  • Valuing the marital home
  • Dividing retirement and pension accounts
  • The amount and duration of alimony
  • Tax implications of alimony and property division
  • Setting up a budget for life after the divorce

When Should You Hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst?

The best-case scenario in a divorce is when the two parties are open to each other without any blockages in communication and have a mutual understanding of how their assets will be divided after the divorce settlement.

In this case, maybe a neutral third party who can oversee the signing of the paperwork is needed. This kind of divorce scenario is mostly seen in couples who have no children, have straightforward assets, or want an immediate “out” from the marriage.
However, most divorce situations rarely end up in this ideal scene. More often than not, two conflicting parties in a marriage need to hire two lawyers – one each to best represent them in legal proceedings.

As you know, the cost of legal services can quickly add up. But research suggests that hiring a certified divorce financial analyst right off the bat when couples do not immediately agree on how the financial assets will be divided can save time and money early on.

Why Do You Need a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst?

Certified divorce financial analysts are financial experts who can help you handle your finances even at the onset of divorce proceedings. They are an objective third party that can be level-headed when things can get heated up when it comes to you and your partner’s assets and finances. Here are other reasons why you might need to hire a CDFA.

Divorce Expenses

Aside from the fact that going through a divorce proceeding is an emotional journey, it can also toll your finances. Going through a divorce is not cheap. You must invest thousands of dollars for legal services. Not to mention, you would also need to settle on living arrangements, child custody, and other matters. Divorce expenses can go sky-high if you are not careful.

One of the reasons you should hire a certified divorce financial analyst is because they can help you budget any finance-related transactions when it comes to your divorce proceedings. They can also help you figure out who will pay for these expensive divorce expenses.

Asset Division

Perhaps the most complicated aspect of divorce is determining how to divide assets like real estate, retirement accounts, and investments. Hiring a certified divorce financial analyst will help couples who have significant amounts of assets to their name. Negative emotions may cloud one’s judgment, so having an objective and neutral third party will help the asset division process through the divorce.

Since asset division decisions are not always easy to make, and it is not always fair to divide assets equally, a CDFA can work with your lawyer to determine an equitable solution that can work for both partners.

Financial Responsibilities

Of course, you will also have to consider any shared expenses or savings accounts that both parties are responsible for, especially when children are involved. More often than not, children are stuck in the middle of a divorce. Both parties want custody of the children, but there is also the issue of future financial obligations.

A certified divorce financial analyst will have the skills and experience necessary to assess the nature of your divorce and help determine how to ensure best that both parties are held responsible for shared financial responsibilities like child-related costs.

Post-Divorce Budgeting

The divorce proceedings can be financially taxing, but you also have to consider life after the divorce. This can be especially problematic for the partner that was (in one way or another) financially dependent on their spouse.

For marriages where one spouse earns more money than the other, a certified divorce financial analyst can assist in the development of a short-term and long-term budget for post-divorce life. Again, this is especially useful when one of the parties may not have earned a significant amount throughout the marriage. A CDFA will know exactly how to create a budget from scratch and ensure your financial needs are met. This will help you have more success in post-divorce budgeting.

How to Choose a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)

Choosing a certified divorce financial analyst can be a bit tricky, especially if it is your first time employing their service. Here are some tips on how you can find the best CDFA for you.

  • Do a certification check from the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.
  • Interview several CDFA professionals to check if they are the right fit for you and your financial consultation needs throughout the divorce.
  • Ask for a referral for a certified divorce financial analyst practitioner from a friend or someone who attests to the expertise and skill of the CDFA practitioner.
  • Ask about their previous client profiles of CDFA practitioners.

Takeaway

Divorce proceedings can get messy and ugly — but it does not have to be when you employ a certified divorce financial analyst who will help you in sorting out your finances. They provide expert financial advice from the onset of the divorce, settle your assets, and even guide you post-divorce.

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