Divorce costs

Cost Savings of Working with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)

Kathy Dicenso, CFP®

March 21, 2018
There are many ways in which a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst CDFA® can save you money, time and stress when evaluating your family financials to aid in structuring your financial settlement, whether “pre-divorce” or at any time during your divorce process. The following summary will help you understand in greater detail how significant cost savings accrue to your family financial asset picture.

Pre-Divorce Planning Cost Savings

A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) is aware of each document you will need in order to obtain the fairest marital settlement agreement and to substantiate the Marital Standard of Living for Spousal Support and income available for Child Support.
Having these documents ahead of time eliminates delays you may encounter once the divorce process has begun. These are also documents your attorney or mediator will immediately request of you, so you will have a leg-up when you start the process by being organized, and at a time when you are more likely to still have access to these important documents.
You will have a clear idea from the onset of your likely financial ramifications from getting an accurate and thorough picture of your family assets, debts, income and expenses, while including specifics as to any tax benefits and/or liabilities. While demystifying the process, many people have found this a useful evaluation tool for assessing the economic feasibility of proceeding with a divorce action.
“A CDFA® is skilled at understanding investment features and their costs, how these will affect settlement scenarios, and whether they skew the results to one party’s benefit or loss.”

In-Process Cost Savings

Knowing and applying the myriad tax benefits and other cost savings benefits provided by the law, and incident only to divorce, a CDFA® can maximize their use. The cost savings can then accrue to the benefit of the parties, rather than going towards an unwarranted payment of taxes or rather than accruing to one party alone, who will carry the liability into the future to their sole detriment.
A CDFA® is also skilled at understanding investment features and their costs (sometimes not readily apparent); how these will affect settlement scenarios, and whether they skew the results to one party’s benefit or loss.
The CDFA® can also forecast the effects of any proposed settlement, providing a year-by- year picture (and bottom-line number) of the effect on each party’s net worth and cash flow – details a judge likes to see. This is more telling than a simple statement of the current allocation of assets and present income to each party, that is, what has traditionally been the scope of analysis provided to the parties.
The CDFA®’s work is recognized by the courts so you won’t have any “do-overs” with another professional and set of fees.
The CDFA®, by combining both the tax and long-term financial planning knowledge, saves you from having to hire two professionals (an accountant and a financial planner), whose services often overlap, for an additional area of cost savings.
The CDFA®’s work is recognized by the courts so you won’t have any “do-overs” with another professional and set of fees.
There are many ways to maximize the financial opportunities provided by law in preparing for and structuring your marital settlement agreement. This, combined with knowing exactly how your financial outcomes will play out in one scenario compared to another, saves time and money both “pre-“, “during”, and “post” a divorce action, whether you are working with a litigator, mediator, collaborative process or doing it yourselves.
Certain highly emotional discussions are circumvented, when you have all the facts at your fingertips. Knowing ahead of time exactly what you are agreeing to in your marital settlement agreement, also puts your mind at ease about whether the money will last and knowing exactly how the settlement will impact your lifestyle — both now and in years to come.
While divorce is not a pleasant situation to begin with, and often one in which we feel very little control, many have found that by using a CDFA® and realizing significant cost savings, they gain comfort from knowing they made the most informed decisions possible and will skip the part about later regrets.

This article has also been published by these sources: State Bar of Nevada NFLR (Nevada Family Law Review) – Summer 2015. Information Provided by Teresa Dentino, CDFA®.

Kathy DiCenso is a financial consultant and president of DiCenso & Associates in Reno. Contact her at 775-336-0021 or at Kathy.dicenso@lpl.com. her comany’s securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor. Member of FINRA/SIPC.

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