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Entering the Divorce Niche: Advice from the Experts

By IDFA on May 23, 2016

Divorce is a fast-paced niche in which to set up a business. Newcomers to the profession can often be overwhelmed with all the industry dos and don’ts. We asked seasoned divorce professionals from across the country and Canada what they believe newcomers to the industry should know. 

Define Your Niche

Working in the realm of divorce is a niche in itself but there are no less than 10 niches within the field. Decide if you want to do litigation support, mediation support, collaborative divorce, or maybe it's some aspect of the actual planning process you want to specialize in. If you try to market to everyone, you in essence market to no one. Start your practice by getting really clear about exactly how you want to do this work and then target every message, web page, blog and printed material to that target!

Nancy Hetrick
Phoenix, AZ


Address Clients' Fears

Divorce professionals need to meet clients where their fears are and help them stay calm with planning, truth, rational thinking, clear choices and solid advice. Women, often times, are scared of slipping into poverty even when it is clear that they are actually on solid financial ground.  Men are often scared of becoming untethered from their family and community in cases where their wives were in charge of the children and their social lives. Divorce professionals need to be intuitive and address their clients’ fears head on to allow for a settlement which is truly about the financial issues at stake.

Robin Graine
Owner, Graine Mediation
Fairfax, VA


Stay in Your Lane

Never cross the line. Know what you can and can not comment on!

Debbie Hartzman
Kingston, ON


Seek Mediation Training

While a CDFA may never aspire to work as a mediator, attending mediation training to hone your diplomacy skills is essential. Clients going through a divorce are in a “crisis mode” as they enter your office. Learning mediation techniques help the divorce financial professional assist the client in a more comprehensive manner through the divorce process. Family law attorneys will identify this training immediately when working on cases together. The skills taught in mediation are invaluable to the divorce professional.

Gina Gallo
Rockledge, FL


Pay Attention to Detail; Learn Emotional Intelligence

Prepare yourself for the intellectual and emotional challenge. The divorce analysis requires CFP-level knowledge and exacting organizational skills. You can’t get away with restaurant-napkin recommendations anymore. Your advice may find itself under scrutiny in a court of law. Your clientele will also be in an emotionally sensitive state. The raw emotions involved are sometimes difficult to handle, even for those of us who have handed over death benefit checks. So you must also become proficient in dealing with “high conflict personalities.” Attend an IDFA conference on the topic. In Divorce work, your E.Q. is definitely as important as your I.Q.

Andrew J. Thurlow
Henderson, NV