Learning Objectives: Module One

After completing Module One, you will know:

Topic: The Financial Impact of Divorce

    1. Describe the financial impact of divorce
    2. Name the most common financial mistakes made in divorce settlements
    3. Understand the unique niche market for divorce financial analysis
    4. Identify trends in divorce statistics


      Topic: The Role of the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst

        1. Describe the role of the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)
        2. Compare the role of the CDFA with that of other financial advisors
        3. Identify types of situations that might be a conflict of interest for a CDFA
        4. Describe the difference between giving legal advice and providing a financial opinion


          Topic: Overview of Divorce Law and Procedures

            1. Discuss various state divorce laws and their impact on divorce proceedings
            2. Describe the difference between a temporary order and a permanent order
            3. Discuss the different approaches to a settlement
            4. Compare the different types of alternate dispute resolution
            5. Compare the difference between formal and informal discovery
            6. Learn about the Divorce Process, including:
              a. Pre-Filing Considerations
              b. Attorney Selection
              c. Pro Se Divorce
              d. No-Fault Divorce
              e. Waiting Periods
              f. Temporary Orders
              g. Permanent Orders
              h. Tax Status
              i. Approaches to Settlement
              j. Trial
              k. Discovery
              l. Post Judgment Issues
              m. Appeals
              n. Failure to File or Amend Documents

            Topic: Analyzing the Financial Data

                1. Collect, review, and analyze a client’s financial data
                2. Identify the components of a financial affidavit
                3. Discover hidden sources of income and assets in divorce
                4. Know how to read and interpret the client’s information
                5. Know how to calculate gross pay, take-home pay, and payroll taxes (including Social Security taxes)
                6. Know how to look for missing information and inconsistencies
                7. Understand COBRA health insurance benefits.
                8. Understand 401(k) and other discretionary retirement contributions


                  Topic: The Financial Expert in Court

                      1. Describe the role of an expert witness
                      2. Describe the difference between direct and cross examination, and between an expert witness and an attorney’s consultant
                      3. Understand the process of “Voir Dire”
                      4. Identify the components of a professional Curriculum Vitae for a CDFA


                          Topic: Glossary of Legal Terminology

                          1. The most common legal terms used during a divorce case

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                          Learning Objectives: Module Two

                          After completing Module Two, you will know:

                          Topic: Property

                          1. How to identify marital and separate property.
                          2. How to find hidden assets by reviewing tax returns.
                          3. How to find hidden assets by reviewing other documents and transactions.
                          4. How to determine the value of property.
                          5. What a career asset is.
                          6. How assets and debt will be divided in a community property state versus an equitable distribution state.
                          7. What the options are for dividing a family business.
                          8. The difference between an equitable distribution and an equal distribution.


                          Topic: Pensions

                          1. What a defined contribution plan is and how they work.
                          2. How to calculate the vested portion of a defined contribution plan.
                          3. How to transfer assets from a defined contribution plan.
                          4. The rules regarding dividing an IRA in a divorce.
                          5. What a defined benefit plan is and how they work.
                          6. Different methods for dividing and transferring a pension.
                          7. How to calculate the present value of a pension, including the marital portion.
                          8. What a QDRO is and how they work.
                          9. The importance of protecting survivor benefits.
                          10. Different vesting options and how they work.
                          11. Common pitfalls of dividing a pension.

                          Topic: The Marital Home

                          1. What the options are for the marital home.
                          2. How to calculate the cost basis of the marital home.
                          3. How to calculate the capital gain on the sale of the home.
                          4. The rules regarding use and ownership period.
                          5. How to determine the financial viability of keeping the residence.
                          6. How to review case studies to determine if one spouse can keep the residence

                          Topic: Spousal Support

                          1. The courts’ criteria for ordering spousal support.
                          2. What rehabilitative maintenance is and how it works.
                          3. Whether spousal support is modifiable.
                          4. The tax issues for spousal support.
                          5. Taxable vs. Non-taxable support.
                          6. What front-loading of spousal support is and how to avoid it.
                          7. Methods for guaranteeing spousal support.

                          Topic: Child Support

                          1. About child support guidelines and their purpose.
                          2. How the non-custodial parent can claim the tax exemption.
                          3. What the child contingency rules are and how they work.
                            • Six Month Rule
                            • Multiple Reduction Rule

                          Topic: Social Security

                          1. How to qualify for spouse’s Social Security Benefits.
                          2. What a spouse’s rights are to Social Security Benefits.
                          3. What happens when there are multiple spouses that qualify for benefits?
                          4. Social Security planning tips and issues.

                          Topic: Insurance

                          1. What happens to health insurance and COBRA protections for divorcing couples.
                          2. How life insurance can be used.

                          Topic: Debt, Credit and Bankruptcy

                          1. About the rules regarding different kinds of debt.
                            • Secured Debt
                            • Unsecured Debt
                            • Tax Debt
                          2. The tax treatment and rules of Qualified Principal Residence Indebtedness.
                          3. The rules regarding tax deductibility of divorce expenses.
                          4. How credit and debt work in a divorce.
                          5. General rules regarding the types of bankruptcy.

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                          Learning Objectives: Module Three

                          After completing this Module, you will know:

                          Topic: Tax Issues of Dividing Property

                          1. Most property transfers are non-taxable.
                          2. Whether spousal support is a disguised property transfer?
                          3. Tax treatment of US bonds.
                          4. Tax treatment of Annuities.
                          5. Tax treatment of Life Insurance.
                          6. Recapture of tax benefits.

                          Topic: Sale of the Principal Residence

                          1. Gain Exclusions for the sale of home and how they work.
                            • Ownership requirements.
                            • Use requirements.
                            • Review different case studies.
                          2. How to determine cost basis.
                          3. How to identify an improvement.
                          4. Case studies on cost basis issues.

                          Topic: Tax Issues in Retirement Plans

                          1. Overview of defined contribution plan and defined benefit plans.
                          2. QDRO requirements and how they work.
                          3. Distributions from retirement plans and how they are taxed.
                          4. Mandatory withholding requirements for retirement plans.
                          5. Individual Retirement Accounts and how they are taxed.
                          6. Medical Savings Accounts and how they are taxed.
                          7. Social Security Offsets and how they work.

                          Topic: Tax Issues of Spousal Support

                          1. History of spousal support taxation.
                          2. The benefits of proper planning.
                          3. Internal Revenue Code definition of spousal support.
                          4. Recapture of spousal support.
                          5. Benefits of declining maintenance.
                          6. Benefits of proper planning.

                          Topic: Tax Issues of Child Support

                          1. Child related contingency rules and how they work.
                            • Reductions at a time associated with child related contingencies.
                            • Six Month Rule.
                            • Multiple Reduction Rule.
                          2. Dependency exemptions.
                          3. Childcare Credit.
                          4. Child Tax Credit.
                            • Regular Child Tax Credit.
                            • Additional Child Tax Credit.
                          5. Earned Income Credit.

                          Topic: Tax and Financial Planning Issues

                          1. Marital Status.
                          2. Allocation of Income and Deductions.
                          3. Income from Separate Property.
                          4. Community Income.
                          5. Income in Equitable Distribution States.
                          6. Allocating estimated tax payments.
                          7. Allocating tax carryforwards.
                          8. IRA contributions and spousal support.
                          9. Roth Conversions.
                          10. Retirement Savings Contribution Credit.
                          11. Bunching Deductions.
                          12. Innocent Spouse Rule.

                          Topic: Analyzing the Personal Income Tax Return (Form 1040)
                          1. Form 1040.
                          2. Schedule A – Itemized Deductions.
                          3. Schedule B – Interest and Ordinary Dividends.
                          4. Schedule C – Profit or Loss from Business.
                          5. Schedule D – Capital Gains and Losses.
                          6. Schedule E – Rental Property, Partnerships, S-Corporations.

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                          Module Four - Case Studies

                          The Module Four exam contains a two of comprehensive case studies designed to teach you how to apply the knowledge acquired from the first three Modules.


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