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Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™) Certification Information

Written by AnonymousJuly 29, 2011

If you’re looking to improve your career in accounting, obtaining an accounting certificate is an excellent first step. Accounting certifications can expand your accounting knowledge and increase your proficiency in a specific area of the accounting field.

Introduction to Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™) Certification 

A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) is an individual, generally with a strong accounting, financial planning, or legal background, who has been specially trained to provide expertise on the financial aspects of divorce. As more and more couples look outside the legal system to help them with their divorces — mainly because of the high cost of legal and other professional fees — CDFAs are becoming increasingly instrumental participants in the divorce process. They help their clients (and their clients’ attorneys) navigate important financial matters, such as settlement negotiations, retirement pensions, and child support.

A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst can perform the following functions (among other things):

  • Strategist/Litigation Support
  • Financial Expert
  • Data Collector/Budget Preparer
  • Client Expectations Manager
  • Evidence Presenter

Key Steps to Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Certification

To qualify for CDFA certification, you must

  • Have a minimum of two years’ experience as a financial professional, accountant, or matrimonial lawyer
  • Be in good standing with your relevant licensing or regulatory board
  • Complete a series of self-study courses and pass the exam associated with each one

Details of the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Exam

The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts’ website contains a four-part, self-paced curriculum designed to prepare you for a career as a CDFA. The first three parts (called modules) of the CDFA curriculum each have an accompanying two-hour online exam that contains 100 multiple-choice questions. The fourth module consists of comprehensive case studies that tests you on the practical knowledge contained in the previous test modules.

You’re required to study and complete one module at a time, and then take the exam for that particular module at one of the 300 test sites across the U.S. After you pass that exam, you can start the next module.

Each four-part curriculum is $425 for the downloadable version or $450 for the printed version. If you purchase all four modules at once, the cost is $1,455 for the downloadable version and $1,530 for the printed version.

Paying close attention to the information presented in the individual modules — the IDFA recommends 20-25 hours of study for each one — should adequately prepare you for the subsequent exams, which require a minimum score of 70 percent to pass. Topics covered on the exam are

  • Financial and Legal Issues of Divorce
  • Advanced Financial Issues of Divorce
  • Tax Issues of Divorce
  • Working as a CDFA: Case Studies

[Warning icon] Though the CDFA course is self-paced, certain time restrictions do apply. You’re allowed one year from the date of purchase to complete the entire curriculum, after which you’re subject to an annual membership fee of $150 and a reprocessing fee of $145, which extends your program another 12 months. After 24 months, if you still haven’t completed the entire curriculum, you’re required to purchase and retake the entire course — including those modules already passed — in addition to the annual membership fee.

Taking the exam once is included in your tuition for the course. If you don’t pass the exam, you can retake it as many times as you want, but you’ll be required to pay a fee each time.

Maintaining the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Designation

Your first year of membership to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts is covered when you purchase the course. To maintain your Certified Divorce Financial Analyst designation in subsequent years, you must pay an annual fee which, as of 2011, is $145. In addition, the IDFA requires that you obtain 20 hours of continuing education credit every two years, of which ten hours must relate to divorce. 

The IDFA offers annual conferences and workshops where you can obtain credits applicable toward the continuing education requirement. Or you can choose to fulfill the requirement by attending a divorce-related course offered by

  • Your local Bar Association
  • A financial planning organization
  • Online seminars
  • Local CDFA continuing education programs
  • Mediation organizations

Governing Board Information

CDFA designation is administered by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, a professional organization registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education.

The website, which contains information about registering for the CDFA course and examination, is

All other inquiries can be directed to

The National Registry of CPE Sponsors
150 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 700
Nashville, TN, 37219