A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™) is a type of financial analyst who has received training in the special fiscal and tax issues of divorce. The training emphases understanding the costs and financial consequences of a divorce over the long term, including alimony, child support, property division, retirement funds, and future taxes. The Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ can work with and advise an individual or serve as a mediator for both parties. A CDFA™ is not a substitute for an attorney, but can work closely with one to facilitate a fair settlement. It is easier to build a career as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ in a state where collaborative divorce is encouraged.
A CDFA™ can help a divorcing couple identify and equitably divide assets like property, furnishings, vehicles, investment accounts, and pension funds. Additional areas of expertise include determining the value of marital property, calculating the appropriate amount of alimony and child support, and explaining the tax implications of the settlement. A CDFA™ can also help set up and manage a post-divorce budget.
A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ can provide the divorcing couple with an informed and objective outlook of their future finances. A settlement can become much less equitable for one or both parties when considerations like inflation and cost of living adjustments are factored in. The Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ can use software and expertise to demonstrate how a settlement can evolve over time and thus help ensure the long-term equity of the final agreement for everyone involved.
It is advisable that the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ be hired by an attorney as opposed to the couple who are divorcing. Attorney-client privilege is preserved if the lawyer hires the CDFA™; otherwise anything either party reveals to the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ is admissible in court. As a result, the direct hire of a CDFA™ by the divorcing couple may not prove to be in the best interest of either party.
Becoming a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ requires at least two years of experience in financial planning and the completion of a program that includes training on personal versus marriage property, taxes, dividing the value of a family home, and the use of software to analyze the long-term consequences of a settlement. The training can be completed online or in a classroom setting in two to six months. Two organizations, the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA) and the Academy of Financial Divorce Practitioners, currently offer training.