Certified Divorce Financial Analyst: What’s a CDFA® and why do I need one?

Certified Divorce Financial Analyst What’s a CDFA® and why do I need one

Sadly, not all stories end happily ever after and divorce, often cited as one of life’s most stressful events, is a real chapter for many; one that is wrought with both emotional turbulence and complex financial challenges.  In fact, you may be surprised to learn that, roughly one-third of marriages within the United States end in divorce.  So, when sweet turns to sour and you find yourself tangled in an intricate web of “this is mine and that’s yours,” who do you turn to for help?  Enter the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, a beacon of financial clarity to help you navigate the murky, and sometimes stormy, waters of divorce. 

What’s a CDFA®?

A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) specializes in the financial aspects of divorce. Unlike traditional financial advisors, a CDFA® comes from a financial planning, accounting, or legal background and undergoes an intensive training program to become skilled in analyzing and providing expertise related to the financial issues of divorce, including property division, debt, taxes, retirement plans, insurance, and future financial planning, among others.  Importantly, a CDFA® becomes part of the divorce team, providing personalized financial guidance to the separating couple (the client) and their attorney(s), ensuring that decisions made today will not adversely affect their client’s financial security tomorrow.

Why do I need a CDFA®?

The involvement of a CDFA® in the divorce process can dramatically alter the financial outcome for both parties involved. By providing a blend of financial expertise and an understanding of state divorce law, they help their clients make informed decisions that protect their financial interests.  The following highlights how a CDFA® can help:

  1. Financial Analysis and Planning: They conduct a thorough financial analyses to provide a clear picture of the marital finances and help provide a better understanding of the short- and long-term impacts of dividing property, the tax implications of alimony and child support, and the financial effect of various settlement options.
  2. Asset Division Strategy: They play a crucial role in explaining the complexity of asset division, including identifying and valuing assets, understanding how different states view marital property, and providing insights into equitable division strategies.
  3. Future Financial Security: They excel in helping forecast the future financial situation of both parties and help clients see how their financial landscape will look post-divorce, aiding in planning for future needs such as retirement, education funds, and emergency savings.
  4. Budgeting and Cash Flow Analysis: They assist in developing realistic budgets (recognizing financial inflows and outflows) that account for their clients’ new financial reality, ensuring that they are prepared for life after divorce.
  5. Settlement Evaluation: They evaluate settlement proposals to determine if they are financially feasible and fair, and help clients understand the long-term consequences of proposed settlements to help ensure that decisions are made with a clear understanding of their future financial implications.
  6. Expert Testimony: When called upon, they can provide expert testimony on financial matters, offering clear and concise explanations of complex financial issues to the judge or mediator.


Whether through the equitable division of assets, establishment of a realistic post-divorce budget, or planning for future financial needs, a CDFA® helps ensure that individuals facing divorce do so with an experienced financial advisor for divorce by their side.  Let’s face it!  Divorce can be challenging, and emotions may cloud judgment and complicate decision-making.  Having a CDFA® by your side is an invaluable resource that not only offers clarity and confidence in your financial decisions, but also provides peace of mind during a tumultuous time, helping ensure individuals emerge from the process not just financially solvent but also financial equipped for the next chapter of their lives.

LSIA is here for you to help address your financial questions. CLICK HERE to contact us.

Data Source: Lexology.com (What does a ‘good divorce’ look like by Kingsley Napley, 1/18/22), CDC/NCHS National Vital Statistics System (data reflects divorce and annulments as of 2022, excludes marriage data for Georgia and divorce/annulment data for California, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, and New Mexico), and Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.  This blog was written with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence, specifically Chat GPT.  Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

LS Investment Advisors, LLC (dba LSIA) is a registered investment adviser.  The information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. We believe the information in this material is reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. Opinions expressed reflect subjective judgments and will evolve as future events unfold. Views regarding the economy, securities markets, or other specialized areas, like all predictors of future events, cannot be guaranteed to be accurate and may result in economic loss to the investor. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed.  Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein.