Advisors with rich clients facing divorce, meet the CDFA


Divorce among older Americans can devastate already complex financial lives as they approach retirement, and the rate of such divorces is rising.

The proliferation of so-called gray divorce — involving couples aged 50 and up — has also led to an increase in financial advisors seeking an industry designation that helps them add value during one of the most high-stakes and vulnerable moments in a client’s life. 

Carol Lee Roberts, president of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts
Carol Lee Roberts, the president of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.

C Suites Photography

“When you have somebody who doesn’t have sufficient retirement assets that were going to fund the retirement for two people, and now you’re dividing that in half, it’s an even smaller nest egg,” said Carol Lee Roberts, the president of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, which maintains the certified divorce financial analyst designation. 

“On top of that, if this divorce is happening post 50 or post 60 [years old], those people have less time to go back into the workplace and re-save for retirement or replace the assets that were lost.” 

READ MORE: Meet the CRPC, a major retirement planning credential

Becoming specialized in handling these client situations can generate reliable referrals from divorce attorneys, who can act as centers of influence — a key way to gain leads for any advisor. 

“I obtained the CDFA designation five years ago because I wanted to work specifically with women, especially those overwhelmed by having to take on being the ‘financial person in the household’ due to divorce/widowhood,” said Monica L. Dwyer, an advisor who has gained trust and many referrals from attorneys in her practice. Dwyer is the vice president and wealth advisor at Harvest Financial Advisors, an RIA in West Chester, Ohio, and she has a CFP and CDFA.

“It opened my eyes to a deep and wide niche that is being underserved.” 

Below, Financial Planning presents a brief guide to the CDFA. 


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