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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Divorce Professionals

Term Definition Divorce Professionals - those professionals who become involved in complicated divorces.
Application in Divorce Any number of professional people may become involved in a complicated divorce, and none of them are inexpensive.

In addition to a divorce lawyer, many complicated divorces involve the services of specialized accountants, who help calculate the cost (or the benefits) of spousal support, the consequences of property division, taxes and dependent exemptions.

Since finances are almost always an issue in any complicated divorce, a Certified Divorce Planner (CDP) frequently comes into play. A Certified Divorce Planner is a specialist in providing financial advice to those divorced or contemplating divorce who find the prospect of dividing their marital property overwhelming. When couples have large marital estates, a CDP can help them in the division of what they own and what they owe. This, of course, is dependent upon the nature and scope of a particular couple’s assets.

Other financial specialists may come into the picture depending on the particularities of the marital estate. A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) TM is an expert who has passed examinations to become a specialist in divorce financial issues. This person may also be a Certified Financial Planner. A CDFA works with divorcing couples who must weight tax considerations in the division of a marital estate. A CDFA might be the person who recommends that a couple postpone divorce for a time for a mutual financial advantage.

In the aftermath of a divorce, many couples avail themselves of the services of a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), a specialist who has met the standards of the Certified Financial Planner Board Inc. (CFP Board). A divorce nearly always deranges financial and estate planning a married couple may have done during the happier days of their marriage, and after a divorce, a CFP maps new financial and estate planning in the light of change circumstances.

The specialization of financial planners come in many different shapes and sizes. An accountant often provides a wide selection of services, from the audit of a business to the assessment of an employee benefits plan. A Certified Public Accountant can oftentimes operate as a specific tax consultant; however, not all do so. For people with tax concerns, the Enrolled Agent, a tax specialist licensed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service, might be the best place to begin consultations.

An actuary may enter the picture who appraises of the future return on the marital portion of a spouse’s pension.

A certified fraud examiner is an accountant who is trained to unravel complicated financial scenarios looking for fraudulent manipulation of assets and liabilities. For a spouse who has reason to believe the other is attempting to hide assets or perhaps alter or misrepresent financial facts, a Forensic Accountant is one who is specially trained to trace properties, evaluate financial reports, and assess value for businesses. Sometime called a forensic accountant or asset searcher or a certified licensed investigator (CLI), a forensic accountant analyzes marital estates for evidence of dissipation of assets or hiding of assets. For example, a forensic accountant examines UCC filings for evidence of collusion with a business partner in hiding or misrepresenting marital assets.

Of course, not all divorcing couples need all these financial professionals, and in some cases even complicated divorces can be executed with only the assistance of a lawyer and a CPA.

See Certified Divorce Planner (CDP); Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) TM; Certified Financial Planner (CFP); Certified Fraud Examiner; Certified Public Accountant.

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