Learning Objectives

CDFA candidates will study a broad range of topics regarding the financial aspects of divorce including:

Professional Responsibilities

  • Knowledge of the difference between giving legal and/or tax advice and providing a financial opinion or information
  • Knowledge of the difference between the role of CDFA(R) professionals and that of other financial advisors or professionals
  • Knowledge of the roles of the CDFA professional and specific divorce processes

Divorce Law & Terminology

  • Knowledge of common financial mistakes made in divorce settlements
  • Knowledge of the different types of settlement options(e.g., alternative dispute resolution, litigation, mediation, arbitration, collaborative divorce, cooperative divorce)
  • Knowledge of the purpose and content of a financial affidavit and how to prepare, review, and evaluate it.
  • Knowledge of the differences between how community property states and equitable distribution states define and divide marital assets

Property and Taxation

  • Knowledge of the tax impacts of dividing assets and liabilities
  • Knowledge of how to identify possible marital and separate property
  • Knowledge of options for the marital home in a divorce,
  • Knowledge of the rules and tax implications of the sale of the marital home including ownership and use periods.
  • Skill to calculate equity, cost basis, and capital gain on other real property (non-marital home)
  • Knowledge of how most property transfers are taxed and exceptions relative to divorceRetirement Plans and Taxation
  • Knowledge of defined contribution plans and how they work and how to transfer assets
  • Knowledge of defined benefit plans and how they work
  • Knowledge of different methods for dividing a pension
  • Knowledge of how to calculate the present value of a defined benefit pension
  • Knowledge of the need for a QDRO and how they work

Social Security and Other Government Benefits

  • Knowledge of when an ex-spouse qualifies, or multiple ex-spouses, qualify for Social Security retirement, spousal or survivor benefits.
  • Knowledge of other divorce-related Social Security issues
  • Knowledge of government-based health care programs

Spousal and Child Support Taxation

  • Knowledge of how, when and why spousal support can be modified
  • Knowledge of how, when, and why child support can be modified
  • Knowledge of the assignment of child dependency and related issues
  • Knowledge of the history of spousal support taxation

Financial Analysis and Planning

  • Knowledge of the information needed to analyze client financial data
  • Knowledge of how to read and interpret the client’s financial information
  • Knowledge of how to look for missing and/or inconsistent financial information
  • Knowledge of various tax credits

Insurance and Risk Management

  • Knowledge of various methods for protecting spousal support, including life insurance, disability insurance, or an annuity
  • Knowledge of life insurance and its use in divorce, including ownership designations

Employee Benefits

  • Knowledge of executive compensation(e.g., qualified and nonqualified stock options, restricted stock units, performance units, deferred income)
  • Knowledge of health insurance and benefits governed by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
  • Knowledge of health savings accounts (HSAs)and flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and how they are taxed.

Debt, Credit, and Bankruptcy

  • Knowledge of the rules regarding secured debt, student loan debt, unsecured debt, and tax debt and how to classify debt as marital or separate
  • Knowledge of how credit and debt work in divorce and potential post-divorce liability
  • Knowledge of loans on insurance politics and 401(k) plans

Specialty Areas

  • Knowledge of the financial implications of pre-nuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Knowledge of the financial implications for spouses and/or children with special needs
  • Knowledge of issues related to late-life divorce (e.g., retirement benefits, disability, long-term care needs)
  • Knowledge of issues related to military divorces