Guest Blog: CDFA Impact on Mediated Divorces 

June 26, 2024

Jennifer Wolfsberg and Olga Okaty of Centerpoint Advisors each hold the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (or “CDFA®“) designation. They have helped guide several clients through post-marital planning both during and following the divorce process. We frequently get asked what the role of the CDFA® is among the professional team when divorcing couples are interested in pursuing mediation.  As such, we thought we would share the following article written by Scott F. Levin, Esq. for the Institute for Financial Divorce Analysts to provide insight: 


Beyond the Numbers: CDFA Impact in Mediated Divorces

By Scott F. Levin, Esq On 01/09/2024

Professional expertise can significantly enhance the overall experience and outcomes of divorce mediation. One key player in this arena is the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA).

Professional expertise can significantly enhance the overall experience and outcomes of divorce mediation. One key player in this arena is the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). As a family law attorney and CDFA who limits my divorce matters to the mediation arena, my clients and I frequently bring into the collaboration a neutral CDFA professional to support the negotiations. In my experience, an impartial CDFA plays a vital role in the mediation process, facilitating financial discussions, empowering divorcing couples, and fostering a more amicable settlement.

Understanding the CDFA’s Role

During divorce mediation involving a neutral CDFA, couples can benefit from the understanding and analysis facilitated by the financial specialist. While it is possible for each party within a mediation to secure the services of a separate CDFA to help advise that party individually, the CDFA as a neutral is brough in on behalf of the collective mediation as a member of the team and supportive of the group objectives.

A CDFA can provide insight as to the impact of the financial splits both in the short term and looking into the future years down the road. By creating a path to allow the couple to make informed, knowledgeable decisions, the CDFA can work with the mediator and the parties to craft a thoughtful settlement based on informed decision-making.

Providing expert insight into the short- and long-term implications of proposed settlements, a CDFA serves as an oracle for divorcing couples. This involves forecasting the impact of financial decisions on post-divorce life and long-term stability. By tailoring financial plans to the unique circumstances of the couple, the CDFA empowers couples to actively discuss and negotiate financial issues of divorce.

Financial Assessment and Planning

In divorce mediation, the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) performs a thorough financial assessment. This process involves meticulously analyzing various financial elements, including assets, liabilities, income, and expenses. Divorcing couples receive a clear understanding of their current financial situation after the CDFA analyzes these components.

The insights gained from this financial assessment become the cornerstone of collaborative financial planning during divorce negotiations. The complexity of dividing assets and liabilities can be simplified when couples have a clear understanding of their financial landscape. This proactive approach not only streamlines the negotiation process but also ensures that the resulting financial agreements align with the unique circumstances and goals of the individuals involved. Ultimately, the CDFA’s financial assessment and planning empower divorcing couples to make well-informed decisions that pave the way for a more stable and sustainable post-divorce financial future.

Neutral Ground for Financial Discussions

The decision to involve a CDFA as a neutral figure in financial discussions brings a transformative dynamic to the divorce mediation process. By assuming the role of a neutral, the CDFA speaks to both parties together, communicates with both together, and provides equal access as a teammate within the mediation process. This approach ensures balance and impartiality.

In contrast to traditional, potentially contentious negotiations, the CDFA’s involvement fosters fairness and transparency. Each party can express their concerns, preferences, and financial goals, knowing that the CDFA is focused on facilitating a cooperative and less adversarial negotiation process. The neutrality of the CDFA contributes to a more amicable resolution, promoting effective communication and collaboration between the divorcing spouses. Mediation is enhanced with this balanced approach, which enables couples to navigate financial discussions with greater ease and equity.

Long-Term Implications and Financial Literacy

An integral aspect of engaging a CDFA in the mediation process is the focus on long-term implications and financial literacy. By enhancing divorcing couples’ financial literacy, the CDFA ensures they have a comprehensive understanding of the repercussions of their financial decisions. As a result, couples can make informed decisions that align with their post-divorce goals by learning about the long-term implications of various decisions.

The CDFA guides divorcing couples towards agreements that are not only equitable in the present, but also conducive to their financial futures. By emphasizing long-term implications and financial literacy, couples can navigate the complexities of divorce with confidence and foresight.

Seamless Integration with Mediation:

In divorce mediation, the seamless integration of a CDFA® brings forth a distinctive advantage. Integrating the CDFA®‘s expertise seamlessly into the mediation process, emphasizing how their expertise integrates into the overall process. By allowing divorcing couples to discuss financial matters in real time, the CDFA enhances mediation’s effectiveness and allows well-informed decisions to be made by all parties involved.

The CDFA works alongside legal and mental health professionals, creating a holistic approach to divorce mediation. As a result of collaboration with professionals from various disciplines, the CDFA contributes to an understanding of divorce from a holistic perspective. A well-rounded mediation experience is enhanced by addressing financial considerations alongside legal and emotional aspects. Providing couples with a comprehensive and collaborative environment for navigating the complexities of divorce is at the heart of the CDFA’s seamless integration with divorce mediation.

The inclusion of a neutral CDFA can be a game-changer in divorce mediation. By illuminating the CDFA’s multifaceted role, we demystify their contributions and encourage divorcing couples to consider the advantages of engaging a neutral CDFA in their mediation journey. The collaborative synergy between legal, financial, and mental health professionals lays the groundwork for a more holistic, informed, and amicable divorce resolution.


This article originally appeared on on January 9, 2024. Click Here to view the full original post and learn more about the author, Scott Levin, Esq.*

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Centerpoint Advisors.