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What is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst?

A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) goes through an intensive training program to become skilled in analyzing and providing expertise related to the financial issues of divorce. To become a CDFA, one must meet specific education and experience requirements of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts™. After passing the exams, CDFAs receive special software enabling them to produce graphs and charts for clients that show them the long-term results of various financial settlements proposed during the divorce.


A CDFA is a valuable member of the divorce team, providing litigation support for the attorney regrading intricate financial details that concern tax issues, CRA rulings, capital gains, dividing pensions, and so on.  The role of a CDFA is to provide solid information and expert analysis that are important resources in seeking the best possible divorce resolutions.

How can I benefit from a CDFA?

Financial problems can tear a marriage apart, and are often the primary factor that leads to divorce.  Once a decision to separate or divorce has been reached, all sorts of questions bubble to the surface. These questions are often clouded by wounded emotions and accompanied by mutual accusations, which comes as no surprise. If a couple cannot solve their financial difficulties while the marriage was underway, it is unlikely that they will be able to agree on pressing financial issues when it has fallen apart.  

Many divorcing couples have questions such as:

•     Where will the children live?
•     Who will pay for their education and medical treatment?
•     How do we value our property?
•     Who gets what property?
•     What tax issues must we be concerned with?
•     How do we divide retirement funds and pensions?
•     How will the lower-earning spouse survive financially?
•     What additional financial support does that person need?
•     Who gets the house?
•     What happens if a paying ex-spouse dies?

These are the questions that divorce lawyers face with each divorce case and the potential for serious financial problems post-divorce calls for making good choices, which can often be difficult when emotions are running high.  A CDFA uses financial planning as a means of reaching a more equitable divorce settlement. If the court’s intent is to treat both parties in a divorce as equitably as possible, it is essential to analyze the marriage as if it were a financial contract, and a CDFA is uniquely suited to do so.

A CDFA can explain financial options, help set priorities and lead you through the hard choices ahead. Professional divorce financial analysis increases the accuracy of financial information so that both parties arrive at workable settlements more quickly and more comfortably accept realistic lifestyle changes when necessary.  This allows your attorney to focus solely on the legal matters of the divorce.

A CDFA has specific training in forecasting the long-term effects of a given divorce settlement. Is it better to take the family home or a cash buy-out? What percentage of retirement funds, business ownership, or other assets would serve you best, not only today, but in the years to come? Developing a long term forecast for your financial situation is just as important as making sure your immediate family needs are taken care of. A CDFA can help develop a realistic monthly budget during the process of analyzing your current financial picture.

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