It’s easy to understand that financial implications play a huge role in any divorce settlement. Managing assets and debts, figuring out how to support your family, pay for college, and handle your mortgage are issues everyone deals with, but the added complexity of negotiating these into divorce proceedings can quickly feel overwhelming. Will I have enough to get by? Is this fair? What will I be giving up? How will this decision affect me a year down the line? Five years? Twenty years? These fears can make an already tense situation worse, and perhaps even grind the divorce process to a halt.
So how can you get the answers you need to make decisions that you are confident in? Being knowledgeable and well-informed is key, but if you aren’t even sure where to start, planning with trusted experts is crucial. You likely already have a few people on your divorce “team”; an attorney to help you through the complex legal process that comes with a divorce, perhaps a mediator if your relationship with your spouse is largely amicable, as well as your friends and family supporting you along the way. What’s missing here is someone that can guide you through the finances. For many people, a divorce is the single biggest financial transition they will go through in life, and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™) can really be a difference-maker as you navigate through it.
A CDFA™ can work in a number of different capacities depending on the unique circumstances of each case, but the motivation is always the same; to help create a financial settlement that works – both now and in the future. The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts explains that a CDFA™ professional can “…provide valuable information on financial issues that are related to the divorce, such as tax consequences, dividing pension plans, continued health care coverage, stock option elections and much more. CDFA™ professional’s also help attorneys by helping the client make financial sense of proposals.” Additionally, the benefits of having a trusted financial professional on your team don’t stop as soon as the ink on your settlement is dry. Many CDFA™ professionals will help with the implementation of the settlement terms you worked hard to agree on, and help rebuild your financial future post-divorce so that you can move into this new stage of your life with clarity and confidence.
There are a number of things that a CDFA™ can’t do, however, and these items can also vary from professional to professional, so it’s important to ask questions and make sure your expectations will be met. For example, some CDFA™ professionals will only take on a client who is committed to obtaining legal representation. They will often refrain from advising on child custody or support matters, and the scope of paperwork they can do for clients will vary based on state regulations and standard practices of each unique professional.
Divorces are rarely easy. Even the most amicable separation will still likely have more elements to address than either party realizes at the outset. If you are considering a divorce, or if you’re already in the midst of one, ensuring that you are getting the advice and support you need to make informed decisions can ease this huge transition now, and set you on a path for long-term stability well into the future.
John Vance is the founder of the Vance Wealth Group, Inc. He began his branch office and his association with Raymond James Financial Services at the age of 28. His plan-driven approach has been a major factor in his success. He has extensive experience working with individuals and families, guiding them in addressing their financial concerns and helping them to reach their financial goals. John is a CFP® practitioner or CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner (CFP®) and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™). The CDFA™ certification requires extensive experience and a rigorous exam process. This specialization makes a CDFA™ an invaluable asset through the complex process of asset distribution during divorce. A Los Angeles native, John currently lives in Valencia with his fiancé Carmen and their six children. He enjoys an active lifestyle including golf, cycling, and the occasional triathlon. John holds a Bachelor of Science with a major in finance and a minor in economics from Santa Clara University.