What Is the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts?

The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA) is an organization committed to educating financial professionals about specific issues relating to divorce. The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts certifies members who complete its modular study program, which highlights divorce tax law and asset distribution. People going through a divorce can contact the IDFA, which will help them find a suitable agent to help them through the divorce proceedings.

Understanding IDFA

The IDFA trains certified divorce financial analysts, or CDFAs, who help support the divorce process. These analysts are schooled in the various tax consequences that result from divorce settlements and can help with equitable asset distribution of the divorcing couple's property and estate. The CDFA can also act as a consultant for a client's lawyer or serve as a mediator during the settlement proceedings.

IDFA Activities

The IDFA calls itself "the authority on divorce planning theory and application in North America. IDFA will establish standards for certification of divorce financial analysts that are objective, reliable, and meet and current benchmarks for certifying bodies. The IDFA helps to ensure the financial health and welfare of the divorcing public through the accreditation of individuals as Certified Divorce Financial Analysts." 

Practitioners with the certification have an understanding of the short-term and long-term effects of dividing property, analyzing pensions and retirement plans, determining if the client can afford the marital home, and if not, what they can afford, as well as recognizing the tax consequences of different settlement proposals.

Much of the role involves collecting the client’s financial data and performing analysis then presenting different scenarios and talking through the client’s budget and expenses. They help clients collect financial and expense data, identify their future financial goals, make a budget, set retirement objectives, determine how much risk they are willing to take with their investments, and help identify what kind of lifestyle they want.

Requirements for IDFA

To gain the designation, candidates must have a minimum of three years of professional experience and a bachelor's degree. If no bachelor's degree, five years of relevant experience are required.

Experience includes experience work in financial planning or family law practice, or experience must include three or more in:

  1. Tax code
  2. Investment management
  3. Real estate
  4. Life and disability insurance

To retain the CDFA designation, holders must also obtain 15 divorce-related hours of continuing education every two years.

The self-study course has been accepted by the CFP Board and The American College as CE Providers for 16 CE credits and 32 PACE credits. The course work includes fundamentals of divorce, financial issues of divorce, tax issues of divorce, and a case studies module.