By Heather Needham, Financial Advisor CDFA®
Finances play a significant role in divorce, so protecting your money and interests is imperative. This is why partnering with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) before an attorney can save you from costly mistakes and help you navigate the financial complexities of divorce.
A CDFA is a financial professional trained in the financial implications of divorce, including asset division, spousal support and taxes. While attorneys are essential in the divorce process, working with a CDFA early on can help you make better-informed decisions before starting the legal process and negotiations.
As a CDFA, I will help you gather information necessary for your attorney, develop a realistic budget, understand the short and long-term financial impact of your divorce, and help you make decisions that will benefit your financial future.
With this information, you’ll have a clear understanding of your financial situation, which can give you and your attorney the confidence to negotiate from a position of strength.
For instance, different financial accounts and products have different tax consequences and penalties, which makes it essential to understand the implications of each. This understanding, along with an assessment of your post-divorce needs and budget, can help you advocate for a better financial position. As an example, if you will need to purchase a new home post-divorce, knowing which account types are more liquid or allow a one-time, penalty-free withdrawal will help make a case for a more advantageous division of accounts during negotiations.
A CDFA can also help you identify financial pitfalls, opportunities and information you may have missed, ensuring you receive a fair settlement.
In my first few meetings with a new client, I take the time to listen to your story, and sometimes these conversations reveal information indicating undisclosed accounts or gaps in financial information from your ex-spouse-to-be. While tracking money often falls outside the purview of an attorney, it is an important task so you know what to ask for and fight for. I also work with clients to analyze various post-divorce financial scenarios, so you can clearly understand your options and choose the best financial roadmap.
Divorce can be a complex and emotional time, and it’s essential to select the right professionals to be by your side. If you’re considering divorce, I offer expert CDFA services to help you navigate its financial implications. To get started, download our free pre-divorce checklist to help you prepare for your initial consultation.
Disclosure: Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI and its subsidiaries. Sandy Botcher is associated with the local office at the above address and is not a licensed insurance agent, registered representative of a broker-dealer, investment adviser representative of a registered investment adviser, or representative of a federal savings bank.
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