Definition of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)


What is a Chartered Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)?

A Chartered Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) uses knowledge of tax law, asset allocation, and short- and long-term financial planning to arrive at fair divorce settlements. A CDFA can provide in-depth financial analysis and advice to lawyers and divorcing couples regarding divorce.

CDFAs must have several years of relevant experience and pass an exam designed by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA) to receive the designation.

Key points to remember

  • A Chartered Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) uses their knowledge of tax law, asset allocation, and financial planning to achieve fair settlements for divorcing couples.
  • They work in conjunction with the divorcing couple and their lawyers.
  • CDFAs must have several years of relevant experience and pass an exam designed by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts to receive the designation.

Understanding Certified Divorce Financial Analysts

The best scenario for two people who divorce is that it is an amicable divorce and both parties agree on the division of the property. In this case, you might just need a neutral mediator to help you with the paperwork. Some divorces that don’t involve property, retirement accounts, children, or large sums of money can even be completed by following a few simple steps online.

However, divorce after many years of marriage with two people in conflict almost always requires the hiring of two lawyers, one to represent each party. Unfortunately, court dates, lawyer meetings and negotiations add up to time, and time means a lot of money for lawyers. Hiring another professional may not be ideal, but some situations require a CDFA. The IDFA points out that performing a financial analysis early in the divorce process can save time, which in turn saves money.

The information provided by clients and lawyers is used to analyze proposals for division of property, alimony, custody, alimony, etc. CDFAs can then project the financial impact of a proposal in the short and long term and formulate different options that can put both parties in a better position after marriage. They can even give absolute values ​​to assets that may be underestimated or overestimated.

In short, CDFAs are best at providing advice for:

  • Valuing assets and debts
  • Valuing the marital home
  • Divide retirement and pension accounts
  • The amount and duration of support
  • Tax implications of alimony and property division
  • Budgeting for life after divorce

While a CDFA may know about divorce law, they should never be hired in place of a lawyer or mediator.

Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) Qualifications

CDFAs go through a rigorous process to become this type of professional. They must have a bachelor’s degree with three years of on-the-job experience or, if there is no bachelor’s degree, five years of relevant experience. Applicants must pass an exam designed by IDFA. There are currently four methods for obtaining CDFA certification: exam-only, self-study, self-paced e-learning, and virtual classroom.

To maintain the CDFA designation, holders must also complete 30 hours of continuing education related to divorce every two years.


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