Of course you have questions. When you said "I do," divorce was the last thing on your mind.
When should I hire a CDFA?
You can engage my services prior to hiring your attorney or after. The benefit to working with me first, is that you go into those first meetings with your attorney fully understanding your financial situation. You'll have clarity around the key financial issues needing resolution in your unique situation. One of the first things an review your financials. The better prepared you are, the fewer hours your attorney should bill you for this process. And the more you can focus on the strategy and issues at hand rather than collecting your financial data. The money you spend with your CDFA is likely to be offset by the savings in billings by your attorney's office who often charge a higher rate and are not financial experts.
How much should I expect to pay?
Each CDFA sets their own fees. Some charge an hourly rate and some charge a flat fee based on the complexity your finances. You should expect to pay between $500 on the very low end for a few hours of time to perhaps $10,000 on the high end if you need a business valuation or other more complex items to work through. CDFA rates also depend on economics in your specific city and state. Clients often say they were reluctant to spend the money on a CDFA, only to be thankful later as they realize the decisions they made based on the information they receive from this process helped maximize their short- and long-term financial well being.
Can't My Attorney Do This?
Your attorney is an expert in the law. Even the smartest, most competent attorney who enjoys numbers and the complexities of the financial world most likely does not have the specific training, the tools nor the time or qualified staff to perform the type of in-depth, detailed, and comparative analysis and reporting you'll get from a CDFA.
I have a financial advisor, can they do this?
In most cases, your financial adviser is not a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst with specialized training and analysis tools and reporting necessary for divorce situations. Often a financial adviser primarily deals with investable assets (stock/bond/mutual fund portfolio). That is their expertise. A CDFA is independent but also understands the intricate details, strategies and interplay of ALL your financial workings such as: assets, cash-flow (current and down the road), social security, retirement plans, small business issues, executive compensation, liabilities (loans/credit cards/etc), housing and mortgage details and other items with critical consequences. In many cases of divorce, such as asset division timing and tax issues, are just a few of the many pitfalls which can make or break one's financial health now or down the road. Knowing technical details, some which apply only in divorce are especially critical. You may also weigh your feelings about how independent your financial advisor can be if he/she has been working with both you and your spouse in the past. Some advisors will tell you that ethically they will only provide the same information to both you and your spouse. Alternatively, and to remain neutral, they could refer you to an independent source, like a CDFA, who works with you during the divorce process, and once the assets are divided, your financial adviser is engaged once again, post-divorce for ongoing services and advise.
I'm not wealthy do I still need a CDFA?
If you have an above average income, a variety of assets (retirement or non-retirement), small business, any sort of non-salary executive compensation (Restricted Stock Units/Stock Options, etc.), or you have children, it is critical to use a CDFA. However, anyone wishing to maximize their post divorce financial health and well being and minimize the stress and uncertainty of the divorce process will benefit from the services of a CDFA.
Call, text or email. We'll have a conversation and you and I can discuss if my services are right for you.