Understanding the Unique Role of a CDFA® Professional

In this article, we'll explore the distinctive role of a CDFA® and how it differs from that of an attorney and an accountant in divorce financial planning.
Image of a phone with blog title

Divorce is a challenging journey that involves emotional, legal, and financial considerations. Amidst the complexities, seeking the right guidance becomes paramount, and that’s where the expertise of a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) professional shines. In this article, we’ll explore the distinctive role of a CDFA® and how it differs from that of an attorney and an accountant in divorce financial planning.

The Role of the CDFA® versus an Attorney

First and foremost, a CDFA® specializes in the financial intricacies of divorce. Unlike attorneys, whose primary focus is on legal advocacy and representation, CDFA® professionals concentrate specifically on the financial aspects of the divorce process. They analyze assets, liabilities, income, expenses, and tax implications with a keen eye towards ensuring equitable and sustainable financial outcomes for their clients.

Differences Between a CDFA® and Accountant

Accountants primarily focus on historical financial data and tax compliance, whereas CDFA® professionals take a forward-looking approach. They utilize financial modeling and analysis to forecast the long-term implications of various settlement options, helping clients make informed decisions that align with their future financial goals and priorities.

Collaborative Nature of Role in Divorce

The Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® assumes a pivotal role within the divorce team, offering essential support for both legal counsel and clients, whether as part of litigation support or as a member of a Collaborative Law team. In either capacity, the CDFA® undertakes the following responsibilities:

  1. Assessing the immediate and long-term ramifications of property division.
  2. Addressing tax implications and integrating them into the financial analysis.
  3. Conducting in-depth evaluations of pension and retirement plan matters.
  4. Determining the feasibility of maintaining the matrimonial home and exploring viable alternatives if necessary.
  5. Evaluating the client’s insurance coverage requirements.
  6. Establishing key assumptions for forecasting inflation rates and investment returns.
  7. Approaching settlement negotiations with innovation and creativity to facilitate resolution.

Additionally, the CDFA®:

  1. Furnishes the client and legal team with comprehensive financial data to elucidate the impact of potential divorce settlements.
  2. Stands ready to provide expert testimony in court proceedings or during mediation and arbitration sessions.
  3. Possesses a thorough understanding of pertinent tax considerations in divorce proceedings.
  4. Demonstrates familiarity with the legal framework surrounding divorce proceedings.
  5. Conducts client interviews to:
    • Gather financial and expenditure information.
    • Assist clients in identifying future financial objectives.
    • Develop personalized budgets.
    • Establish retirement targets.
    • Determine risk tolerance levels for investments.
    • Define desired lifestyle parameters.
    • Estimate the costs associated with children’s education.


The CDFA®’s multifaceted expertise and personalized approach play a pivotal role in guiding clients through the complexities of divorce, ensuring informed decisions that safeguard their financial future.

By focusing exclusively on the financial aspects of divorce and working closely with legal and financial professionals, CDFA® professionals help clients achieve equitable settlements and lay the groundwork for a secure financial future beyond divorce.

If you’re navigating divorce and seeking comprehensive financial guidance tailored to your unique needs, consider partnering with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. Empower yourself with the knowledge and support you need to make informed decisions and embark on a path towards financial independence and stability post-divorce.

Remember, in times of transition, having the right support can make all the difference. Let a CDFA® professional guide you through the complexities of divorce with expertise, empathy, and unwavering dedication to your financial well-being.


Let's get started!

Easily schedule your FREE 30-minute information call with us where we discuss your needs and how we can best meet them. Pick an available date and time that's most convenient to you.