What Was a Certified Financial Divorce Practitioner (CFDP)?

A Certified Divorce Financial Practitioner (CDFP) was a specialized credential, no longer issued, that signaled knowledge of tax law, asset distribution, and short- and long-term financial planning applied to divorce settlements.

Key Takeaways

  • The Certified Financial Divorce Practitioner (CFDP) was a professional credential earned by financial professionals seeking to aid in divorce-related matters.
  • The CFDP designation is no longer issued.
  • Professionals with this outdated credential needed to understand tax law and how it applied in separating assets in a divorce.
  • However, other designations, such as the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) and Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist (CFDS), still exist and serve similar roles.
  • CDFA and CFDS are two types of experts in the financial aspects of a divorce.

Understanding the Certified Financial Divorce Practitioner (CFDP)

The best-case scenario for two people divorcing is that it’s amicable, and both parties agree on the division of assets. In this case, you might only need a neutral mediator to help with paperwork.

Some divorces that don’t involve property, retirement accounts, children, or large sums of money might even be completed by following a few simple steps online. However, divorce after many years of marriage with two conflicted people almost always requires the hiring of two attorneys—one to represent both parties. Unfortunately, court dates, attorney meetings, and negotiations all add up to time, and time means a whole lot of money to attorneys.

Hiring yet another professional may not be ideal. Some situations call for specialized knowledge. While this person cannot provide legal advice unless, of course, they have a license, a CDFP provided in-depth financial analysis and guidance to the attorneys and divorcees relating to the divorce. Information provided by the clients and attorneys is used to analyze proposals for the division of assets, alimony, custody, child support, and other issues.

CDFPs could then project the financial impact in the short- and long-term and formulate different options that could leave both parties in better positions post-marriage. They also recommend absolute values to assets that may be under or overestimated.

To become a CFDP, a candidate would have had to have completed training offered by the Academy of Financial Divorce Practitioners. This training involved a 10-week program or completion of a self-study course. Both training methods were concluded with an examination, which had to be passed before the designation was awarded.

Certified divorce financial analysts can help couples navigate new financial terrain during and after a divorce, such as how to divide retirement accounts, and even how to set up a new budget for expenses after a divorce.

 Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)

While the CFDP no longer exists, there are alternative designations that train financial professionals in divorce matters.  A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) uses their knowledge of tax law, asset distribution, and short- and long-term financial planning to achieve equitable divorce settlements. CDFAs are best at providing advice on:

  • Valuing assets and debts
  • Valuing the marital home
  • Dividing retirement and pension accounts
  • The amount and duration of alimony
  • Tax implications of alimony and property division, and
  • Setting up a budget for life after the divorce

A Canadian designation, known as the Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist (CFDS), similarly trains financial planners to help clients with their finances regarding matters of cohabitation, separation, and divorce.