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Should I Hire a CDFA Financial Analyst Before Divorce?

Russ Thornton-Wealthcare for WomenRuss Thornton, CDFA, of Wealthcare For Women shares the following information on the benefits of hiring a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst before a divorce financial negotiation.


A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) is a designation awarded to those professionals who have studied and demonstrated proficiency in the financial impact, both short- and long-term, of divorce. The CDFA designation is conferred by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts after the candidate studies and passes multiple tests including a detailed divorce case study.


A CDFA can be a valuable member of your “divorce team.” Working alongside you and your family law attorney, a CDFA can provide analysis and advice to provide financial context about potential divorce settlements you and your attorney may be proposing and/or considering.


Other possible divorce team members could include a forensic accountant and a counselor or therapist.


Questions a CDFA can help you explore and answer include:


  • Should I negotiate for more assets or more spousal support?
  • Can I afford to keep the marital home?
  • How much child support will I need to care for my child(ren)?
  • Will I have to go back to work?
  • How long will the money last?
  • What documents will I need to separate my retirement accounts? (also known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order)


These are just a few of the questions a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst can help you and your attorney answer.

And while many experienced family law attorneys are familiar with the financial impact of divorce, their primary responsibility is to help you navigate the legal aspects of equitably dividing your financial assets and coming up with a good parenting plan for any minor children.


While some CDFAs can also serve as an expert witness in court and provide other complimentary services and expertise during your divorce, they most often serve as the financial expert on your team of divorce professionals.


Do you have a personal story that you can share regarding these issues? I would love to hear from you.

More information in Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.CDFA makes financial recommendations

2 responses to “Should I Hire a CDFA Financial Analyst Before Divorce?”

  1. Website is under development.

    I think the decision to hire a CDFA or any other professional is one that is totally based on circumstances. I usually get called in when there are substantial assets, complicated financial matters, a closely held business established during the marriage etc. If all there is is the marital home and a few bank accounts and even perhaps some simple retirement plans, the case doesn’t need me. But put significant real estate holdings; valuation of stock and other investments; valuation of the closely held business etc and well that is a horse of a different gait. In fact I almost think it is malpractice for attorneys not to call in a CDFA or Business Evaluation expert. I love attorneys but truthfully, they tend to try to do everything themselves and I have seen some real horror stories come out of that. We have a client right now who was married to a man with whom she jointly owned 50-50 split of a group of McDonalds Restaurants. Well right after the divorce the husband kicked her out of the business, took her off the bank accounts and stopped paying any support. Our client worked every day for 11 years in that business. We are still investigating hidden bank accounts, real estate purchased with business funds, a $250,000 on the business used exclusively for personal items but paid out of the business. There were two other attorneys in this matter one of whom we know very well who does do family law but not complicated ED. The second attorney isiprimarily a criminal attorney but also does some simple divorce work, no ED or high conflict child support and custody issues. The problem is neither one of them knew how over their heads they were until about a month ago when the criminal attorney got too busy for this case. We are still digging out from under missed discovery deadlines, discovery never requested or filed etc. And this is one that opposing counsel is not conciliatory, won’t give an inch and like so many other attorneys I have had opposite us, never actually reading all the documents and sketching out the timeline. Never questioning and demanding documents she should have to defend her client. Don’t get me wrong, if we can get the court to compel production of documents even though discovery date is past, our client should do ok. But there is no guarantee on that and without my involvment as a Forensic Accountant and CDFA our clients interests would be really damaged. This is a topic I could send to attorneys all day long. Because even the best of them have a little ego problem and results in them not being willing to get their client to do what they really must do to have a fair and equitable result

  2. Annie Martin says:

    I wish that I had known about you when I was getting my equitable distribution! I feel as though my New York/NC failed to get me the best settlement. This occurred over 19 years a go, and I am still suffering financially because of this, as I am now HOMELESS and living temporarily with my son! I never found out how my ex was able to “clean out” his retirement during the separation without my signature, and he lives in a 5-bedroom, 2-car garage home!!!

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