About CDFA Professionals
A CDFA professional is a financial professional skilled at analyzing data and providing advice on the financial issues of divorce. The role of the CDFA professional is to assist the client and his or her attorney to understand how the decisions he or she makes today will impact the client’s financial future. A CDFA can take on many roles in the divorce process:
Financial Experience and Strategy
CDFA professionals provide 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.
Data Collection and Analysis
Much of a CDFA professional’s role is collecting the client’s financial data and performing analysis. CDFAs can help manage a client’s expectations of their financial future by presenting different scenarios and talking through the client’s budget and expenses. CDFAs are trained to:
- Collect financial and expense data.
- Help clients identify their future financial goals.
- Develop a budget.
- Set retirement objectives.
- Determine how much risk they are willing to take with their investments.
- Identify what kind of lifestyle they want.
Divorce Financial Analyst Process
Step #1: Establish and Define the Relationship with Client or Prospective Client
- Mutual agreement regarding the scope of service(s) to be provided.
- Agreement regarding fee arrangement and/or compensation.
- Disclose any limitations or conflicts of interest.
- Determine the client’s and the practitioner’s responsibilities.
- Providing any additional information necessary to define or limit the scope of service.
Step #2: Gather client data and information relevant to the engagement
- The practitioner shall obtain sufficient quantitative and qualitative information and financial documents relative to the scope of service.
- If the CDFA practitioner is not able to obtain sufficient case information, financial records, or documents, which could impact the completion of the assignment and/or conclusions and opinions that can be reached, this shall be communicated by the CDFA practitioner to the client.
Step #3: Completion of Analysis / Assignment
- CDFA practitioners must use reasonable, unbiased judgment when arriving at conclusions and/or developing a financial opinion relative to an assignment. CDFAs do not provide tax or legal advice.
- Assumptions used should be based on comprehensive economic / financial principals.
Step #4: Presentation and delivery of the work product / assignment
- Analyses’ and reports that are completed by CDFA practitioners are done in a professional and diligent manner to reflect the high standards of the divorce financial analyst profession.
Step #5: Completion of Engagement
- At the conclusion of a divorce financial analyst engagement, CDFA practitioners send written correspondence to their respective Client to confirm the completion of the engagement.