Certified Divorce Financial Analysts®

Our Certified Divorce Financial Analysts Are Here To Help

Divorce investment planning is essential during the divorce process because it ensures that both parties can make informed decisions about their financial future. Working with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) can save thousands of dollars by providing expertise in navigating the complexities of divorce and finances.


A CDFA® helps clients avoid pitfalls by guiding them through crucial considerations before embarking on a divorce and during the divorce process, such as assessing retirement accounts, stock options, and real estate holdings, along with understanding their potential tax consequences.

By considering these factors early in the process, clients can make strategic decisions that protect their financial well-being in the long term, ultimately minimizing the financial impact of divorce and ensuring a smoother transition into their new financial reality.


At TSG Wealth Management our commitment extends beyond mere financial guidance, we are dedicated to empowering our clients and community members to navigate the intricate terrain of divorce with confidence and clarity. To achieve this, we have a team of seasoned leaders in divorce investment planning, each holding esteemed CDFA® licenses.


Issues to consider:

Marital Home / Real Estate
  • Negotiating to retain the marital home when the client cannot afford it
  • Failing to consider the cost basis of property
  • Not understanding the capital gain taxes upon the sale of the marital home or how the sale can impact each party
Retirement Plans
  • Thinking that retirement assets have the same value as an equal dollar amount of non-retirement assets
  • Not evaluating the defined benefit pension plan correctly
  • Not understanding the different division methods of a retirement asset and not knowing which one is in your client’s best interest
  • Not understanding the purpose of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or the need to have it completed and filed at the time of the divorce or immediately after the divorce is final
  • Not being aware that it is possible to take a distribution from a retirement plan prior to age 59 ½ and avoid the 10% penalty
  • Not protecting the survivor benefits for the non-employee spouse
  • Not taking into account transaction costs when evaluating a settlement offer
  • Not understanding methods or tax implications of dividing stock options
  • Not taking into account the effect of deferred taxes when dividing the assets
Investment Planning
  • Believing that a 50/50 division of property is an equitable division of property
  • Not looking at the long-term impact of a financial settlement
  • Failure to factor in inflation and investment returns when looking at the long-term impact of a settlement, or using unrealistic numbers in the evaluation
  • Making isolated financial decisions versus looking at the big picture and analyzing how each financial decision impacts other decisions
  • Not understanding how to divide debt
Divorce Specialty Division of TSG Wealth Management

TSG’s Divorce Specialty Team (From Left to Right) Tyler Chernack, CDFA®, Magaly Carson, CDFA®, and Lori Zorn, CFP®, ChFC®, CDFA®

Ready for help? Contact our CDFA® professionals & we’ll help guide you!

What is the CDFA® Professional’s Role?

When considering divorce, most people initially think of hiring an attorney. It’s often later in the process or even after the divorce is final that they consider involving an investment advisor, such as a CPA, CFP® practitioner, or CDFA® professional.


Financial experts come with various designations, like CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) professional. Let’s break down their roles:


Investment Planner:

  • The focus of investment planners, CFP® professionals, or ChFCs is to help individuals achieve their financial objectives, whether they’re going through a divorce or happily married.
  • They assess the client’s goals, evaluate current assets and liabilities, and develop strategies to meet those goals, considering assumptions about income, expenses, inflation rates, interest rates, and investment returns.


Certified Public Accountant (CPA):

  • CPAs primarily deal with the current financial scenario without projecting into the future.
  • In divorce cases, they calculate the tax implications of property division and spousal/child support for a limited period, usually one or two years. They might also conduct audits or forensic accounting to uncover hidden assets.


Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Professional® (CDFA®):

  • CDFA® professionals bridge the gap between investment planning and accounting, specifically tailored for divorcing clients.
  • They collaborate with clients and their attorneys to understand the financial ramifications of decisions made during divorce proceedings.
  • CDFA® professionals provide litigation support, analyze tax implications, evaluate retirement plans, assess affordability of assets like the marital home, and establish future financial goals, among other tasks.
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Near Me | Divorce Financial Separation

The Supportive Roles of a CDFA® Professional

What is a CDFA? | What is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst?

How do CDFA® professionals fit into the process? You will need to be flexible. There are many
different roles you will play in our work with attorneys:


Before the case is even filed, the CDFA® professional can be used as a strategist in the litigation process. The lawyer needs to know what the financial implications are for different divorce settlements. Once you prepare this analysis, it will give the attorney the ammunition he or she needs to negotiate the most advantageous settlement for your client.

Financial Expert

In the divorce process, the attorney will view the CDFA® as the financial expert. We may be called on to review and give input on investment data, retirement plans, benefit programs, business records, tax returns, and all other financial data.

Data Collector

A key support role the CDFA® can play to the client and his or her attorney is to help them collect data to prepare the financial affidavit and pre- and post-divorce budgets.

Evidence Presenter

In meetings with the client; the client and his or her attorney; the client, spouse, and the attorneys; mediation sessions; arbitration hearings; or the trial, the CDFA® professional is often asked to present evidence to show the financial impact of different settlement options or information related to financial, tax, investment, or retirement plan issues.

Client Expectations Manager

This is probably one of the most important roles that a CDFA® professional plays in the process. Many clients come in with unrealistic expectations and often need a reality check. For instance, there was a case in which a woman was getting divorced after 25 years of marriage. The children, two girls, were almost out of college. The woman had expectations that when she divorced her husband, who was earning about $95,000 per year, she would essentially be taken care of for the rest of her life. She needed to know, from a financial planner’s perspective, the reality of what was going to happen. Even though her husband earned a significant salary, she did not have a realistic view of what could be expected as a result of the divorce. They did not have very much property, and they had spent almost everything they had earned during the marriage. In addition, she had not worked much outside of the home. It was very important for someone with an extensive financial planning background to give her a realistic expectation of the future.

What a CDFA® Professional is Not

The use of the CDFA® designation does not permit Wells Fargo Advisors or its Financial Advisors to provide legal advice, nor is it meant to imply that the firm or its associates are acting as experts in this field.


Despite the varied roles of the CDFA® professional, there are a number of roles the CDFA® professional cannot perform without specific training:


The CDFA® professional cannot provide legal advice. Their role is to assist the attorney with financial issues related to the divorce—not to replace the attorney. The CDFA® professional should always recommend, if not require, that any client hire legal counsel. It is critical that clients seek their own legal counsel to ensure their interests are properly represented.

Business Appraiser

The CDFA® professional is not qualified to conduct a business appraisal. They may work with a business appraiser to collect data required to prepare the appraisal and use the appraised value in their analysis, but only a trained appraiser can value a business.

Pension Valuator

Preparing pension estimates. However, to prepare a true pension valuation requires the use of an actuary.


As a CDFA® professional, we understand many actuarial concepts and how to use actuarial tables, but the CDFA® designation does not make them an actuary.

CPA/Tax Preparer

As a CDFA® professional, we review many tax issues related to the client’s financial situation, but the CDFA® designation does not make us a CPA or tax preparer.


Most states require specific training and experience to be qualified as a divorce or family law mediator. In certain occasions, however, we may be hired by the divorcing couple to serve as a financial expert in the mediation process. As a financial neutral, the CDFA® helps a couple ensure that all of their financial settlement decisions are fully educated and informed as to the short- and long-term implications and tax ramifications specific to the settlement terms.

What a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst is NOT

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