Getting good financial advice as part of your divorce process can be one of the most important decisions you make. During this highly emotional time you are making some of the most important financial decisions of your life. High emotions and important financial decisions, a good match??? Not usually.
So who do I trust? It depends, but a simple answer is a professional trained in both divorce and finances relating to divorce. Your attorney should be smart, but is probably not the best professional to consult about what your retirement picture will look like after your divorce is completed.
Certified Public Accountants (CPA) or Enrolled Agents (EA) are great resources for tax related questions and advice, many are also well versed in divorce. Some tax professionals are also Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFA) and specialize in divorce finances and taxes. Others may be Chartered Business Valuators (CBV) or Certified Valuation Analysts (CVA) who specializes in business valuations, or Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) trained to look for hidden assets, financial manipulation, or misconduct.
A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) has specialized training in financial well-being, budgeting, and planning for your future life. A CFP with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) credential specializes in financial well-being before, during, and after divorce. As a CFP and CDFA, I admit I am a little biased about the skills someone like me can bring to the table, but I honestly believe consulting with someone like me can be of tremendous assistance making wise decisions during your divorce such as:
- Should I keep the house? (Notice not CAN I keep the house)
- Will my support be enough to meet my monthly expenses? How will I afford to pay support?
- What is the impact of divorce on my retirement plan? What is a QDRO? Do I need one?
- What about paying for the children’s college education?
- What about health insurance?
- What protections do I need in terms of insurance and estate planning after divorce?
- I’m divorced, now what do I need to do with my finances?
- Are my investments set-up to meet my retirement needs?
CFP credentials require a certificate covering a wide range of financial education topics, experience, and successful completion of a very challenging exam. A CFP with CDFA credentials has earned an additional credential to specialize in divorce finances.
Rest assured, just like any true professional, a CFP, CDFA will not try to be all things to all people. As needed and appropriate, I (and my colleagues too) refer clients to other experts in the Alphabet Soup of financial professionals when their expertise is more appropriate for your divorce situation.