Purpose


The Board of Advisors Policy (the Policy) for IDFA sets out the approach to ensure a diverse Board of Advisors. This policy helps to ensure that the Board of Advisors represents the majority of the CDFA candidate’s backgrounds. The Board of Advisors is the final authority on certification requirements, disciplinary action, and the strategic goals of IDFA. IDFA staff cannot waive eligibility requirements or change certification requirements without Board of Advisors' approval. The Board of Advisors is a self-perpetuating body.

Responsibilities

  • Establish and review the certification requirements including prerequisites.
  • Approve educational materials prepared by external consultants
  • Establish and review the Code of Ethics
  • Final authority on all disciplinary measures.
  • Establish and review recertification requirements.
  • Assist in planning and presenting the annual conference.
  • Final authority on complaints or exception requests from candidates and certificants.
  • Provide oversight on exam development and delivery.
  • Call for Job Task analysis at a minimum of every seven years.


Each will be reviewed at a minimum of once every three years and the Chair will appoint one Board member to lead a Task Force reviewing the standard(s). In addition, the BofA will be the final decision on all requests for exceptions and disciplinary appeals.

In addition, the BofA will participate in quarterly calls to review the strategic plans for IDFA and the CDFA designation. During the quarterly calls, the BofA will also hear any appeals escalated from the Ethics Steering Committee, requests for exceptions to the experience requirement, and concerns regarding the staff implementation of the policies and procedures. During the fourth quarter BofA call, the election for the new class and new Chair of the BOA will take place.

For information about the Board selection process, please see the Board of Advisors Nomination and Selection Policy.

Chair

Donna Cheswick, CDFA®Southwestern Pennsylvania

Donna Cheswick, CDFA® and Financial Advisor, has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. She is the owner of Cheswick Divorce Solutions LLC., located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, where she helps individuals, couples and family law attorneys with all the financial complexities that arise during divorce to ensure the most financial advantageous settlement possible. Education is the backbone of her business, and she frequently teaches workshops on a wide variety of topics relating to finance and divorce as well as authored numerous articles for local/national print and online publications. Donna also is a trained divorce mediator and collaborative financial neutral.

Third Year Member

Ben Feldmeyer, CFP, CDFA®, MAFF

For the last 25 years, Ben’s belief has been success is measured not just by your financial well-being, but by how confident you feel about your future. As President of Feldmeyer Financial Group, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Ben has spent his career helping families see their financial future more clearly. After finishing his BSBA in Finance from The Ohio State University, Ben went on to receive his Master’s Degree from Central Michigan University. He has been a part of the Ameriprise Circle of Success every year from 1997 to 2018, including becoming an Ameriprise Diamond Ring Inductee in 2007. Ben has also recently been elected to the IDFA Board of Advisors for 2019.

Second Year Members

Jacki Roessler

Jacki who works with The Center for Financial Planning in Southfield, Michigan has been a divorce financial planner for over 22 years. Her work with divorcing women, men and couples has been featured in Kiplingers’ Personal Finance, Fortune Magazine, Bloomberg’s Wealth Manager, Money magazine, and Investment News.

She loves to share her expertise through her writing for The Center’s “Money Centered” blog and has published many articles on the financial aspect of divorce. In addition to having experience in traditional litigated cases, Jacki is also a trained Collaborative Divorce professional.

In addition to divorce financial planning, Jacki has extensive experience in the qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) and pension arena and has traveled the country, teaching lawyers, judges, and financial professionals the intricacies of QDROs and pension valuations in divorce cases and other financial topics. Jacki has also developed software applications that assist with QDRO preparation and provide additional financial tools for divorce settlements.

Outside of work, Jacki, a photography hobbyist is passionate about spending time with her children and fiancé. Outdoor and indoor adventures are a priority as is travel to places near and far.

Jane McAuliffe

Jane McAuliffe is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) and Founder of Collaborative Divorce Strategies, a Divorce Financial Planning and Financial Mediation firm located in East Providence, RI. Jane assists her divorcing clients in many aspects of the financials of each case; including defining the marital estate, helping clients fully grasp the short and long- term impact of the financial decisions they face, budgeting and financial planning for their future post- divorce. Jane assists Attorneys throughout the process by analyzing the marital standard of living, tracing expenses and the dissipation of marital assets; trial consulting and making a case for or against spousal support. Jane has provided testimony as an expert witness on trial and provided expert neutral evaluation on financial issues during mediations. She regularly hosts seminars and trainings with the RI Bar Association for local attorneys on financial concepts and divorce.

Additionally, Jane is a fee-based Financial Advisor and Partner with Axis Advisors, helping clients with post-divorce transition management, including the transfer of assets post-divorce, investment management and financial planning for her clients into their future. Jane got her start in the financial services industry in 1998 with Fidelity Investments and has held various roles in mainly advising clients on investment strategy and portfolio construction. She now focuses her investment management practice in the divorce financial planning niche for the past 5 years following her own divorce.

First Year Members

Karen D. Sparks, CDFA®, J.D.

In 2010, Karen D. Sparks, CDFA®, J.D. obtained her professional designation as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® and began her practice, Divorce Financial Strategists™. Her passion is to assist clients establish and maintain financial health even in the midst of a difficult life challenge such as divorce or separation. In addition to serving clients throughout the state of California and nationwide, she frequently speaks at conferences on a variety of topics such as spousal support, mid-life divorce complications and the intersection of culture and gender in the divorce process. Ms. Sparks has also been a retained expert and trial expert witness regarding marital standard of living analysis and has created very popular webinars on this subject.

She is the co-author of the “Stress Free Divorce Vol. 1” published in April 2017. Additionally, her published work includes articles in the Divorce Financial Analyst Journal, Family Lawyer Magazine ands as a contributing financial expert for Worthy.com. In November 2019, Divorce Financial Strategists™ was selected for the 2019 Best of Santa Clara Award in the Financial Services category by the Santa Clara Award Program.

Ms. Sparks served as a director on the Board of Directors for the Association of Divorce Financial Planners from 2015 to 2018 and has recently been elected to the IDFA® Board of Advisors in 2021.

David Smith, CDFA®, MAFF®, CQS, ChFC®, CASL®, D.M.D, Ret Lt Col, USAF

In April of 2015, David Smith opened his comprehensive divorce financial planning firm, Sand Oak Divorce Solutions, in Panama City, Florida. In addition to the personal experience of seven divorces in his own family, David realized an overwhelming unmet need in his local community. Couples and individuals lacked access to an unbiased professional resource to provide affordable, focused, and divorce-specific financial education and advice, to help them "divorce smartly.”

David is passionate about making divorce a less stressful and more cost-effective experience. As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®), he specializes in helping individuals and couples answer the financial questions they have before, during, and after their divorce. As a Financial Settlement Facilitator, Certified QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Orders) Specialist (CQS), and Master Analyst in Financial Forensics® (MAFF®), David assists with document collection, completing financial affidavits, identifying creative settlement scenarios for marital property division, alimony and child support calculations, pension valuations, QDRO preparation and facilitation, and separate property tracing.

Other specialties include helping clients smartly divide brokerage accounts, retirement plans, pensions and annuities; evaluating whether or not to keep the marital home, and the short and long-term effects of these critical decisions.

As a Collaboratively Trained Financial Neutral and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, David can work either jointly with both parties (with or without Attorneys) to design their own best outcomes for their individual situation, with both parties in the Collaborative Divorce process, or with only one party within the divorce.

David is an independent Financial Advisor, Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®), Chartered Advisor for Senior Living (CASL) & Financial Organizer & Coordinator with over 13 years' experience.

In 2002, he retired from the U.S. Air Force after serving 20 years as a General Dental Officer. He is married, has two wonderful daughters, and enjoys listening to smooth jazz and informational podcasts, taking long jogs early in the morning, and getting out on the water in his kayak for some occasional fishing and relaxation.

Public Member

Dr. Mary Martin

Mary is an Operations, People, and Publications Specialist with over 20 years of experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit arenas. On the Operations front, she is the fractional COO for several companies, including the Sudden Money Institute, and continuously serves on working boards of directors. She was a founding board member of three nonprofits and was asked to serve as Interim Executive Director for over a year for a child-welfare agency. On the People front, Mary is often called the “glue person” on teams and enjoys developing the skills and talents of those she works with. With a knack for noticing what makes people happy and what they’re good at, she is able to help clients be better and do better.

On the Publications front, Mary has ghostwritten or edited two dozen nonfiction books (half for the financial services industry). She has also written well-over a million dollars of grants, and developed curricula, assessments and rubrics. Her doctorate in Applied Linguistics from New York University focused on assessment and evaluation, and included adult learning theory.

Mary is also a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher trained by the Brown University Mindfulness Center and a Certified Mindful Schools Instructor. She teaches mindfulness to children, teachers, parents and executives.

For more information about the BOA, see the Board Of Advisors.