A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) is a financial professional who assists attorneys and their clients in figuring out the financial picture during the divorce process and thereafter. It is the "thereafter" that is key; a CDFA can project the parties' asset division outcome far into the future, something that lawyers and judges cannot do. This is precisely what makes a CDFA so valuable in a divorce case.
For instance, imagine that there are $500,000 in assets which are to be split 50/50 and an alimony payment of $500 per month for three (3) years, based on a ten (10 year) marriage. On its face this looks like an equitable deal for all. But what happens when one party doesn't foresee the tax consequences of keeping (or selling) a certain asset? Or when the alimony payment ends for a stay-at-home spouse and that spouse has not yet finished an education or obtained suitable employment? What initially looked like a good deal ends up being rather lopsided in favor of one party. The CDFA can project what a proposed settlement will look like in five (5), ten (10) or twenty (20) years and show how each party's financial picture will improve or decline. Imagine how helpful this would be in settling a case! If the case does not settle, a CDFA can testify as an expert witness.
Ideally, you would bring in a CDFA early to help you set up a budget. What many people do not realize is that the income that used to support one household now must support two households. Also, a CDFA can be a neutral expert - a professional who does not represent the wife's interests or the husband's interests but instead works with both of them to explain the consequences of their current and future financial decisions. This is particularly applicable in collaborative divorce matters.
If you are going through a divorce, a CDFA may be enormously helpful in deciphering all the financial mumbo-jumbo and in settling the case. Ask your attorney about how a CDFA can help you.