Although at one time divorce financial planning in California and other states was viewed as less than ethical, today it is a rapidly growing specialty within the legal profession. Divorce attorneys say that financial planning expertise is increasingly recommended for their wealthy clients, and financial planners are becoming educated in divorce and its impact on finances.
Evidence of the changing social norms can been seen in the fact that divorce financial planning courses are being offered as options at some schools of financial planning. Expertise in the effect of divorce on finances and the various types of investment and settlement strategies is an increasing need, according to some practicing lawyers and financial planners.
The Association of Divorce Financial Planners, started 15 years ago with five members, now reportedly has 225 members, most of them Certified Divorce Financial Analysts. The general number of CDFAs has increased by 40 percent since 2011, a reflection of the increased recognition of value in the specialty. According the the president of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners, one reason for the need is that often large amounts of money are involved, and people being divorced are frequently estranged from their financial planner.
Divorce financial planning may be helpful in obtaining an equitable property division, especially in cases of high asset divorce. In-depth knowledge of current law, investment vehicles and settlement strategies may make a substantial difference in divorce proceedings. Because complex asset division may include retirement accounts, business assets and property with sentimental value, agreements made at the time of divorce may have a significant financial impact years later. As financial options and investments become more sophisticated and numerous, divorce financial planning may also become increasingly important in years to come.
Source: Investment News, “Divorce planning sheds its ambulance-chaser image“, Liz Skinner, January 09, 2014