If you are thinking to work with a CFDS (Certified Financial Divorce Specialist) or a CFDA (Certified Financial Divorce Analyst) to help you navigate through the financial part of your separation negotiations ensure you do your research. As both accreditations sugggest the same type service you might be thinking they are the same thing. But they are not. People often ask me “What is the difference?”. The CFDA started in the U.S.A. and is now in Canada and has been for a few years now teaching their students with Canadian content. The CFDS is managed and owned in Canada only with Canadian content. Each designation is awarded to students who complete the courses which help financial professionals understand the mathematics that are important to consider when helping their clients navigate the financial divorce world.
However, that’s the only similarity. To enroll in the Certified Financial Divorce Specialist course students MUST hold a financial designation which can be found here CFDS Prerequisites The prerequisite designations often come with their own requirements. As an example, a Certified Financial Planner is mandated to earn 25 credits a year in order to maintain their CFP designation. On top of that, the CFDS accreditation requires that 10 hours of continuing education be in the divorce arena.
A CFDS only needs to be a financial profession with 3 years of experience but not necessarily with any accreditation (think about your local teller at the bank) and they are required to complete 15 divorce related hours of continuing education every TWO years.
While there are many CFDA’s who do wonderful work it’s important to recognize the difference. Also, some CFDA’s do hold other financial designations, such as the CFP, so ensure you understand how much knowledge and accountability your financial professional brings to the table before bringing them to yours.