As you go through a divorce, you're going to be making financial decisions that could impact you for the rest of your life. Moreover, you have to make these decisions at a time when your emotions are probably all over the place.
Your family law attorney can help you work toward the best possible financial settlement as well as the child custody and support agreements you're seeking. However, it can be helpful to have a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) on your team as well -- particularly if you're dividing significant and/or complex assets and if you haven't been the one in the marriage handling the finances.
As one CDFA says, "You are likely most emotional and least rational during your divorce. Making lasting decisions under duress without a financial expert can cost you thousands of dollars -- if not more -- each year for the rest of your life. While your attorney knows the law, your CDFA specializes in the financial impacts and insights that save you money."
You might be concerned that a CDFA will try to persuade you to go to court to fight for everything you can get. On the contrary, many of these professionals encourage their clients to avoid a litigated divorce if possible -- particularly if they have children. It often adds needless expense and stress to ending a marriage.
So, what is a CDFA's role? They can advise you regarding virtually any kind of asset and debt you're dealing with. They can:
- Help you determine which assets are worth fighting for in the long run and which you're better off letting go
- Analyze the various ways to divide retirement accounts and determine which is preferable
- Review financial statements and tax returns to find out if your spouse is hiding assets
- Determine the best type of alimony settlement (monthly vs. lump sum)
- Help you revise your estate plan
A CDFA isn't always looking at the bottom line. These professionals can also help you consider what your priorities are in the divorce.
While a CDFA may seem like one more divorce-related expense you don't need, if there are considerable assets at stake, having one on your side can save you far more than it will cost you in the long run. Your family law attorney likely knows one or more CDFAs in your area and can recommend one whom they think would be a good fit for you.