Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® professional?

A CDFA® professional is a financial professional skilled at analyzing data and providing expertise on the financial issues of divorce. The role of a CDFA® professional is to address the special financial issues of divorce with data to help achieve equitable settlements. A CDFA® professional provides the client and attorney with data analysis that shows the financial effect of any given settlement. They become part of the divorce team and provide support on financial issues such as:

  • Understanding the short-term and long-term effects of dividing property
  • Analyzing pensions and retirement plans
  • Determining if the client can afford the marital home, and if not, what he or she can afford
  • Recognizing the tax consequences of different settlement proposals

How is Divorce Financial Planning different from other Financial Planning Services?

Divorce Financial Planning is a blend of financial planning, tax and financial analysis and negotiation strategy in the context of divorce. The CDFA® practitioner assists the client and their attorney(s) to understand how the financial decisions they make today will impact the client’s financial future based on certain assumptions. We help you make informed decisions to ensure the best financial settlement for your needs.

I have an attorney. Why do I need a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® practitioner?

Your attorney is there to handle the legal aspects of your divorce. Using a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® professional allows your attorney to focus on the legal aspects of your case while leaving the financial aspects to the CDFA® professional, who bills at lower rates. This combination decreases the overall cost while increasing the quality of services you receive.

How can I save money in my divorce?

Couples who can work together in their divorce can save big on professional fees. Remember “a penny saved is a penny earned.”

  • Get all your financial information gathered and organized and share it with your spouse. Don’t make your attorney force the discovery process.
  • Don’t make your attorney be the communication channel between you and your spouse. Let your attorney focus on legal issues.
  • Don’t fight about things you don’t care about or that are not worth that much.
  • Don’t spend more in legal fees than the value of the item you are fighting over.
  • Don’t ignore your case because you just don’t want to deal with the pain. Make sure you know your attorney’s strategy and agree with the methodology. Ask if something can be done less expensively or if it should be pursued at all.

Why should I use Banfield Divorce Financial Advisors?

  • We can help you make informed decisions about your future by focusing on understanding:
    • Short-term and Long-term consequences of settlement proposals
    • Financial options available during the divorce process
  • We can level the playing field where one spouse is less financially experienced or knowledgeable.
  • We are trained in Mediation and Collaborative Law practices

What if I’m Not Sure About Getting a Divorce?

We work with people who are just exploring their options or are at the very beginning of the process. In fact, the best time to get us involved is in the beginning when no major decisions have been made. We can help you identify goals and options and clarify what your situation might look like post-divorce.

I want a divorce. Where do I start?

First, know that you do not have to go to court to fight it out. Most divorce agreements are handled outside of the courtroom and only go to court for a final decree. There is a wide range of options to choose from.

  • Do-It-your Self (DIY or Pro-Se) Divorce
    • You handle the paperwork and filing on your own. You both agree on the property settlement and child custody arrangements. You will probably want to get professional advice if your marital estate and child custody issues are complicated or if you cannot agree on all matters.
  • Mediation
    • If there are points in which you and your spouse cannot find common ground, a mediator could be used to reach agreement. Mediators may be trained in the skill of mediation only, or they could be formally trained as lawyers, financial professionals or therapists as well.
  • Collaborative Divorce
    • Collaborative divorces are gaining popularity as well. In these cases, both spouses retain a lawyer who specializes in collaborative law. The collaborative team may also include a financial neutral, a neutral collaborative coach, a child specialist and various other experts specific to your case. Either you reach a settlement in this process or both spouses need to retain new counsel and begin again. The incentive is high to settle and stay out of court!
  • Various combinations of the above. You may agree on most things and get assistance from an attorney, mediator or financial neutral, with just one or two sticky or complex issues. We recommend having an attorney draft the agreement even if you have worked out all the details.
  • Litigation or Arbitration
    • The above types of divorces are where both parties agree to the divorce and can work together toward a settlement. In a contested divorce where one party does not want the divorce or there are issues where you cannot agree to solutions, arbitration or trial are used. In both cases a third party makes the decisions for you about your children and your property. This gives you the least amount of control over the outcome, while also usually being the most expensive option.

What is a financial neutral?

The financial neutral is a financial professional such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) who has undergone specialized training and has been certified as a Divorce Financial Analyst. The financial neutral works for both parties eliminating a duplication of efforts and ensuring both parties have the same financial information.

The objective of the financial neutral is to help the parties separate their assets and plan for the future in a way that takes into account each party’s needs. A financial neutral’s expert insight helps divorcing couples consider different financial scenarios, create financial goals, and prepare budgets.

Often, one party is more knowledgeable about the couple’s finances or about monetary issues in general. When this is the case, the financial neutral often takes time to explain the finances to the other party so he or she can make informed choices about his or her future. This helps ensure that participants are prepared to move forward from the divorce and have the tools they need to craft their new lives.


Divorce Resources

Recommended Reading

These resources are provided strictly as a courtesy, and are not intended as an endorsement or advice from Banfield Divorce Financial Advisors.