Nobody dreams of getting a divorce, but when it does happen, we all hope for an amicable process that doesn’t take too long, and perhaps more importantly, doesn’t cost too much. The interpersonal side of divorce (especially if children are involved) is already stressful. When you add financial disputes, and/or a financial settlement that is unfair, the stresses are only greater.

Maybe you’re entering the process of divorce yourself, or perhaps you have a friend or loved one in mind. Either way, you’re probably aware that litigation through the courts is not the only way to accomplish a divorce. In fact, it’s often the single most stressful and expensive way to legally separate. Divorce mediation, under the guidance of a qualified professional, is a compelling alternative that will often result in a far less stressful, far less costly divorce.

But let’s be realistic: The financial side of divorce is huge. Often times, with or without children, finances and division of assets is the most contentious and bitter aspect of divorce. Disagreements are prolonged, and attorney fees go through the roof before the final result is achieved. Even then, if one or both sides feel embattled or short-changed by the financial results of the divorce, this can have real effects on the ability to co-parent effectively, if children are involved.

So what are we getting at?

Divorce mediation is a good alternative to a litigated divorce, but it’s important to make sure that your mediator is well-equipped to advise and guide the financial side of things, in order to reach a fair and peaceful resolution. To this end, it’s worth looking for a professional who, aside from being well trained in the counseling and interpersonal mediation aspects of the process, is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA).

What is a CDFA?

This is a professional certification that can only be achieved through completion of a requisite educational program. Holders of the CDFA certification have studied the financial aspects of divorce extensively, and gives professionals an unmatched level of expertise in areas such as:

Questions of child support and/or alimony
Issues involving investment and retirement funds
How divorce will affect your tax situation
How assets can and should be divided fairly

It’s important to realize that when you look for a fair financial resolution during the process of divorce, you’re looking for long-term results. A divorce mediation specialist who is inexperienced, or who doesn’t have CDFA certification, might only see what looks fair today. But with long term vision, the fairness or unfairness of the financial side of divorce becomes much clearer. Factors such as co-parenting, custody arrangement, cost of living, and inflation are all taken into account to create resolutions are that detailed and fair in the long-term.

Getting the right help with your divorce

Divorce may not be a happy moment, although in many cases, it be entirely amicable and fair in terms of finance. In order to achieve the best possible results, it’s a smart move to seek help from a divorce mediation specialist with CDFA certification who will see the bigger picture without losing sight of the details.