Many times, Divorce Mediation can be the most cost-effective, lowest conflict, process of all of the divorce settlement options. Currently, the majority of divorce mediators are either mental health practitioners or attorneys who help couples make decisions regarding the legal, child custody, and financial issues of the divorce settlement.
Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFA™) are trained in the legal, financial, and tax issues of divorce. Some CDFAs have become mediators and/or have extensive experience in serving as the Financial Neutral in Collaborative Divorce cases. Doesn’t it make sense then to include or choose a CDFA to mediate the financial issues of divorce?
Advantage 1 – Knowledge of divorce financial and tax issues
We are living in a world of specialties and specialists. Do you want your General Practitioner family doctor to operate on your spine or brain? Well, the CDFA™ is the specialist in divorce. CDFAs are specially trained in the financial and tax issues of divorce. They may have additional credentials such as a CPA or CFP and they analyze and create solutions much quicker than those who do not have this experience or training. Although they are also trained in the legal issues of divorce, they are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice; however, an experienced CDFA™, who has also worked in litigated cases, can provide you with the legal outcomes of previous cases and basic family law statutes regarding marital property, child support, and alimony guidelines.
Advantage 2- Saving time and money
Divorce mediation can be riddled with time delays and wasted meetings caused by the most common issues of lack of pertinent information, lack of specific knowledge (taxes and finances), fear of making decisions, etc. CDFAs know what financial documents are needed to assess the total financial picture. They can address and resolve tax issues, budgeting challenges, business valuation needs, marital property division, and other financial issues without having to call in another professional. The CDFA™ can summarize the financial decisions and send them to your attorney for review and incorporation into your separation and divorce agreement. All of this produces time efficiency, cost and energy savings.
Advantage 3 – No Surprises
Divorce is not just an ending, it is also the beginning of a new life with financial uncertainty. CDFAs can use graphs, charts, and financial projections to show both spouses what their future financial situations will look like under any settlement scenario. If you have questions like “am I going to be ok,” or “will I be able to retire,” a CDFA™ can provide answers and solutions within the mediation framework.
Advantage 4 – A Comprehensive Agreement
Wording is critical in settlement agreements, especially in regard to tax filing, QDRO preparation, splitting of investment or retirement accounts, support terms, business interests, and stock options. The CDFA™ can make sure that the spouse’s financial decisions are properly articulated in the agreement and that the agreement, by itself, does not contain language that will trigger unwarranted income taxes or an IRS audit.
Co-mediation – A viable option
Using a team approach, co-mediation with a CDFA™ can be a very cost-effective process for divorcing spouses. The primary mediator can control the meetings and address parental issues while the CDFA™ sticks to the tax and financial issues. This approach does not have to lead to increased fees. Many times, the mediator and CDFA™ can adjust their fees so that this collaboration has minimal or no impact on cost to the spouses.
John Faggio is a CPA, CFP®, and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™. He is a trained mediator, and has had extensive experience as the Financial Neutral in Collaborative Divorce cases. Faggio Financial provides comprehensive divorce financial analysis and planning, pension valuation, and forensic services.
Call or email John today at 410-988-7333 for an initial, flat-fee consultation or a quote to provide the services that can put you on the right path to a positive outcome in your divorce.