How To Choose a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst will act as the financial expert on your divorce team. The CDFA is the person responsible for creating a comprehensive financial analysis and projection that you and your divorce attorney will propose in a divorce settlement offer. Your divorce financial planner should have a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) designation. Do not use a regular financial advisor, planner, or accountant. Instead, choose someone with a complete understanding and specialized training in divorce finances. Here’s how to go about picking the proper CDFA for your needs.
Search and Interview Several Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Candidates
When choosing anyone for a role of this magnitude, it’s a good idea to interview multiple candidates. You can find Certified Divorce Financial Analysts on various website search engines, you can ask friends and family about their experiences and whom they hired. You can also seek out reputable candidates by attending divorce planning workshops. Do some background research on each of your chosen candidates. Google their names, read reviews, and get a general sense of how satisfied others have been with their services. Compiling some background information will help you go into the interview with a basis of knowledge about your potential CDFA.
Interview Each Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Candidate
Once you’ve compiled a short list of Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, prepare a list of questions that you will ask them. You need to advocate for yourself in this situation, and divorce dealings are naturally emotional, so it is best to be prepared ahead of time. Asking questions will start a bigger conversation and allow you to determine if you feel comfortable with your potential CDFA.
A few questions may include:
- What areas do you focus your practice in? For instance, personal vs. marital property, retirement assets and pensions, spousal and child support, etc
- What is your average client profile?
- How many clients do you actively work with on an ongoing basis?
- What process(es) do you use when working with a new and existing client?
- How do payment and billing work? What is your fee?
Craft questions specific your individual circumstances that way you will know if all of your concerns have been handled. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and jot down notes along the way. Don’t expect yourself to remember everything you have talked about. This is all new for you and needing clarification is completely normal. There is no such thing as a silly question when it comes to decisions that will affect the rest of your life.
Is the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst compatible with you?
After you’ve interviewed multiple Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, decide who is best suited to assist you. Evaluate how you feel about their technical skills and background, but also how you connect on an emotional level. You are going to share very sensitive information with this person. You want to feel understood and supported throughout the process. Evaluating a CDFA’s compassion, understanding, and patience is not to be overlooked. Divorce is a completely new experience for most people and financial concepts are not always easily understood, you want someone who is willing to explain the information in a way that it can be fully grasped.
Will your Certified Divorce Financial Analyst collaborate with other professionals?
Your Certified Divorce Financial Analyst will act as the financial planner of your divorce team. He or she will work with your attorney to prepare for negotiation during your divorce. Your CDFA may also need assistance from other professionals in order to negotiate your divorce fairly. Ask your Certified Divorce Financial Analyst if he or she has connections to and collaborates with other professions related to separating assets. For instance, you may need a forensic accountant, someone who can suss out the possibility of hidden income, assets, and liabilities. You might also want to connect with a valuation expert, someone who can determine the worth of a business and investments, or a real estate appraiser. You will want a professional CDFA who is able to work well with others.
Are the fees in line with other Certified Divorce Financial Analysts?
Cost is certainly not the only factor. The old adage, “You get what you pay for,” can sometimes be applied to CDFAs. Do not look solely at cost, but be aware of their rates and billing practices. You should know what you’re paying for, how often you will be billed, and at what rates.
What resources are provided to educate you?
Lastly, your Certified Divorce Financial Analyst should provide you with educational materials that help you to better understand the entire process. While the CDFA is a professional, you should also actively advocate for your own needs. A great CDFA will encourage this and help you to be successful at it.
If you’d like to learn more about Certified Divorce Financial Analysts and talk to one in person, join us for our next Raleigh divorce seminar at Second Saturday Wake County.