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Fair is not always equal: Why you should talk to a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst

Daren Givoque, CDFA, Financial Advisor

O’Farrell Wealth & Estate Planning | Assante Capital Management Ltd.

When a person or couple starts looking into divorce it is hard to know where to turn. It is commonplace to have a lawyer or mediator handle the legal aspects of the divorce and ensure the division of assets are equitable and fair. While divorce lawyers and mediators are excellent at applying the law, understanding people’s rights and negotiating with other lawyers in a legal framework, they don’t specialize in the intricacies of dividing assets. In many cases finding a situation that is fair to both parties may not be as simple as dividing the assets 50/50.

This is where the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) comes in. A CDFA provides clarity, accuracy and equity through a collaborative divorce process. They are an expert in all the financial aspects of divorce. A CDFA’s role is to help divorcing couples address the financial issues of divorce using data to help achieve equitable settlements. They are well-versed in analyzing financial records and investments and identifying possible tax consequences that come along with liquidating assets.

A CDFA will work with the divorcing individual or couple to create a comprehensive wealth plan. This report outlines all the assets involved in the divorce, taking into consideration the tax consequences and future value of each one. By doing some simple analysis, a CDFA will make it clear that what may seem like an equal division of assets may not actually be fair because of the long-term outcomes of each. For example, a family home may only ever be worth $300,000 while a pension could one day be worth $1 million. If a client is particularly set on keeping the house or the pension a CDFA will be able to help equalize the two so they can be traded in a fair and equitable way.

A CDFA can also look after long-term financial planning and give their clients a look at how their life will be affected based on different settlement scenarios. For example, in some cases it may not be financially viable for someone to keep a family cottage as it may be difficult to keep up on a single income. When deciding which assets to keep in a divorce it is important to look at how this will affect your financial situation long term. A CDFA will do that and create a comprehensive wealth plan to help ensure your financial stability going forward.

There is no way around it, divorce is stressful. Many people come to their initial meeting with a CDFA scared and unsure about what the future holds. Using a CDFA will help mitigate stress and allow you to go into meetings with your lawyer stronger and more confident about the settlement you want and what the future looks like.

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