In addition to my designation as a certified financial planner practitioner (CFP), I also am a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). In the role of CFP we make projections decades out for couples. When there is a dissolution of marriage, new projections need to be made with brand new considerations.
The CDFA is part of the team and provides support for the attorney and counseling for the spouse. Typical areas of discussion will be division of property, tax issues, retirement and pension plans, real estate, insurance coverage, and a realistic assessment about future lifestyle. Common questions are: Should a home be refinanced before or after the divorce is final? Do you want to contribute to share ownership in a property? How will stock options be treated in the separation? Where will I get health insurance from? What does a QDRO do?
Dividing Assets should consider potential earnings, accessibility, and taxability. Accepting $100,000 in an IRA is not the same as $100,000 in a bank account due to the tax liability that needs to be paid on the IRA.
One of the most important aspects of the conversation with a CDFA is setting expectations based on your new reality in terms of need to work and ability to spend. What a CDFA is not would include acting in a legal capacity, as mediator, business appraiser, or tax preparer.
A CDFA should be engaged at the beginning of the divorce process and not after the divorce decree is signed.