Why Experts Are Important in Your Divorce

When hiring an experienced divorce attorney, you can tap into their network of experts to help you along the way, which gives you an advantage. Although you may not need experts, if your divorce has complex property issues, business assets, debts, medical or mental health concerns, or child-related issues, it is important to make sure you are making wise decisions for you and your family’s long-term financial and emotional well-being.

This is precisely where an expert can come in and provide their expertise, and this is why having an attorney with experienced contacts is beneficial. One such expert is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®.) A CDFA® is someone who comes from a financial planning, accounting or legal background and goes through an intensive training program to become skilled in analyzing and providing expertise related to the financial issues of divorce.

The role of the CDFA professional is to help both you and your attorney understand how the financial decisions you make today will impact your financial future, based on certain assumptions. So your attorney can focus on the legal issues, the CDFA® will focus on the financial issues by:

  • Identifying the short- and long-term effects of dividing property
  • Recognizing the tax consequences of different settlement proposals
  • Analyzing pension and retirement plan issues
  • Determining if you can afford to keep the marital home—and if not, what might be an affordable alternative
  • Helping you understand your current financial reality
  • Forecasting your financial future based on different settlement options

Normal circumstances where a financial professional can save you big money:

  1. A 50/50 division of property is not always equal or equitable. The value of a house does not necessarily “equal” the same value in stocks, a rental property or retirement assets. There are financial and tax implications which will affect the “value” of different assets differently.
  2. Retirement assets can usually be divided between spouses. Understanding the differences between pensions, 401ks, IRAs and Roth IRAs is imperative to determine if a certain result is possible. It may be possible to access cash currently from these accounts, but knowing the specific laws and rules is necessary to avoid penalties and excess taxes.
  3. Money is a huge source of uncertainty and fear-based arguments in many divorces; a CDFA professional can allay some of the fears by helping you avoid financial pitfalls, watching out for tax issues, and letting you know what your financial future will look like if you accept “Settlement A” or “Settlement B”. When you feel more secure, you’re able to make better choices about your future.
  4. It’s not unusual for marital assets to include residential and commercial real estate, pensions, complex employee compensation packages, and closely held businesses or professional practices. Finances, financial projections and analyses generally aren’t taught in law school—and many lawyers don’t always have the expertise and/or the time to handle the financial complexities of their clients’ cases. This means that more and more divorce lawyers are now encouraging their clients to hire a skilled CDFA professional to assist in their case.

Contact our experienced attorneys at the Law Office of Alexandra White to speak with us about your divorce case and our network of experts, and contact Bev Banfield, CPA, CDFA® (contact information below) to discuss how she can assist you with your divorce finances.

Phone: (303) 482-1726