Budgeting Financial Planning Relationships & Money Divorce & Money What Is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst? By Rachel Morgan Cautero Updated on December 9, 2022 Reviewed by Erika Rasure Reviewed by Erika Rasure Erika Rasure is globally-recognized as a leading consumer economics subject matter expert, researcher, and educator. She is a financial therapist and transformational coach, with a special interest in helping women learn how to invest. learn about our financial review board Fact checked by Sarah Fisher Fact checked by Sarah Fisher Sarah Fisher is an associate editor at The Balance with two years of personal finance and business writing experience. She has written about personal finance for SmartAsset, and has held internships at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's office. learn about our editorial policies In This Article View All In This Article How a CDFA Works Example of a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) How Do I Find a CDFA? Do I Need to Work With a CDFA? Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: kate_sept2004 / Getty Images Definition A certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) is a trained and certified financial professional who can help you navigate the financial aspects of divorce. They often work with your divorce lawyer and usually have work experience in financial planning, accounting, or divorce law. Key Takeaways A certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) is a trained professional who can help ensure assets are divided fairly in a divorce.A CDFA is not a substitute for an attorney.A CDFA can help you look at your assets with a long-term view.If you already work with a trusted financial advisor, a CDFA may not be needed. How a CDFA Works Divorce can be expensive, and a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) can help you get the fairest deal you can. They can help you determine the cost of living as it relates to inflation. That ensures that your assets will be divided fairly and that you won't be shortchanging yourself when negotiating a divorce settlement. A CDFA looks at both the short- and long-term financial value of your assets. A CDFA can help you ensure you're getting your fair share of the assets in the divorce. They will consider the present situation as well as your future goals when helping you and your lawyer determine what you want from a settlement. They use specialized software programs to help them analyze assets like: Real propertyExpensesRetirement accountsPensionsLife insurance Certified divorce financial analysts can also help divorcing spouses formulate realistic post-divorce monthly budgets. They often work with clients to determine how to afford the lifestyle they want to lead post-divorce or how divorce will affect taxes going forward. Note A 50-50 split isn't always the most equitable, particularly where details like retirement and child support are involved. Example of a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) A certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) is a trained financial professional who can help you navigate the financial aspects of divorce. They often work with your divorce lawyer and usually come from a background such as: Financial planningAccountingDivorce law A CDFA must go through training and certification in order to provide their expertise in the financial implications of divorce. Their areas of expertise include anything that may affect your long-term financial picture, such as: Alimony or child support Dividing personal vs. marital property Determining the future value of retirement and pension funds Calculating any divorce payments Divorce tax law How Do I Find a CDFA? You can find a reputable certified divorce financial analyst via the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, the first issuing organization for CDFAs. Note A CDFA is not a substitute for a good divorce lawyer. In many cases, you will need to hire a lawyer or mediator before you hire anyone else. Before you hire a certified divorce financial analyst or any other financial professional to assist with your divorce, you should check their qualifications along with several other factors: Certification: Make sure they are a member of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts or another reputable organization. Trust: Going through a divorce is a tricky, emotional experience. Only hire professionals you can trust and be open with. Recommendations: If you have a friend or relative who has also gone through a divorce, ask whether they used a CDFA, and if they would recommend using a CDFA. Interview: Don’t be afraid to ask questions of a potential CDFA, such as how long they’ve been practicing, processes for their work, their average client profile, and even why they decided to become a CDFA. Their answers will tell you whether they’d be a good fit to work with you. Cost of a CDFA A CFDA charges an hourly rate, similar to that of a lawyer. These rates can vary based on your location and the value of your assets. Hourly rates may range from $150 to $450, although the cost will depend on your location, as well as how complicated the divorce is. Do I Need to Work With a CDFA? You might not always need to hire a certified divorce financial analyst. If you already work with a financial advisor, they may be able to give you a good idea of your long-term financial picture and how it may be affected by a divorce. They also have likely already worked out a realistic monthly budget with you. Note In cases of an amicable divorce, you and your spouse may be able to finalize everything by using just a mediator and a CDFA, forgoing the need for a lawyer altogether. That can save you both money in the long run. If you and your spouse own a business together, have significant assets, or don’t know how to form a budget post-divorce, then a CDFA is probably a good choice. However, if you don’t have significant or complicated assets like a business or several real estate properties, then you may be able to save money and do it yourself. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Should I hire a CDFA? If you or your spouse have significant assets, or assets that may be complicated to divide, you should probably hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). If you and your spouse have a fairly uncomplicated financial situation and relatively few assets, it may not be worth it to spend the money on a CDFA. However, if you're not sure how you're going to be able to handle your financial situation after the divorce, it may be worth hiring a CDFA, even if dividing up your assets doesn't seem very complicated. What does a CDFA do? A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) has many responsibilities. They review their client's financial situation and help them figure out a budget, the lifestyle they want, and what their financial needs and goals are. They can show the client which divorce settlement options work best for them, and the potential financial effect of each settlement option. They can also appear as an expert witness in court, or during mediation or arbitration. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. "Why Hire a CDFA Professional?" Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. "What Is A CDFA?" West Coast Family Mediation Center. "What Does it Cost to Work with a CDFA?" Survive Divorce. "What Does a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Do?"