Frequently Asked Questions
Questions to ask your financial divorce expert
Are you a Certified Financial Planner®?
The answer should be yes - CFP®s meet the 4 E’s, Education, Examination, Experience & Ethics. This is an Accredited certification.
What is your professional experience?
We have worked with divorcing clients since 1990. Make sure your divorce financial expert works on divorce financial planning cases every week vs. once in a while. Make sure your divorce financial expert is an expert in post-divorce financial planning so that you are not disappointed with the results of someone who only does pre-divorce financial planning. Someone who only does pre-divorce financial planning may not know enough about personal finance to avoid tax mistakes, account transfer mistakes, and long-term consequences of the pre-divorce only planning.
Are you a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™?
While this is not yet an accredited certification, those of us who hold this certification are specifically trained in pre-divorce financial planning.
Do you provide divorce financial planning for a fee?
If your divorce financial expert is not allowed to charge you for divorce financial planning and is doing so ‘just to help you out’, chances are very good, they simply hope to capture your assets post-divorce. We charge for our time in divorce financial planning and deliver exceptional work that often pays for itself after we have measured our results.
How does your divorce financial expert give back to families?
We hold a nonprofit, licensed Second Saturday® workshop in Reston, VA, each month. We have a family law attorney and divorce financial expert speak at each workshop. Support. Information. Hope.
I have an attorney, why do I need a Divorce Financial Planner?
Divorce, in addition to being a legal process, is very much a financial process of taking one household and making two. Finding the right professional for your situation is key; you need an attorney to provide legal advice, but you also need a CFP® or CDFA™ to provide financial planning during your divorce. Your divorce financial professional works separately or in tandem with your attorney – they work with each other, not for each other. You benefit from this by getting objective guidance. Your divorce financial professional shows you the financial impact of any potential division and, if needed, can appear as an expert witness in court. DYSNYD can provide expert testimony in court, although DYSNYD prefers to prepare financial testimony that is so compelling the other party must consider whether their arguments are stronger. Once you reach a settlement, it can’t be changed. Therefore, spending time evaluating your financial future is perhaps the most important step in a divorce.
What is the process for working with DYSNYD?
Efficient - we use electronic documents and can meet virtually (shared screen meeting) if you prefer that over meeting in person. First, you’ll securely upload your documents from the list we send you, including what you both own, owe, earn and need out of the process. If you meet with DYSNYD before an attorney, you can often save time and money by making sure the financial information is complete – which allows the attorney to focus on the legal aspects of the case. A divorce financial planner is viewed as the financial expert and can come aboard at any stage of the divorce process.
I’m ready to get started working with DYSNYD as our divorce financial planner. What are the next steps? The first step is to contact DYSNYD at 703.771.0905 and will schedule a working meeting.
What does it cost?
We charge hourly, flat fee (specific written scope of work) or retainer fee, much like attorneys. At DYSNYD, the hourly fee is $350 with a minimum of 1 hour. The average divorce financial analysis takes 10 hours. Yours may not be average. Clients with more complicated situations or who need testimony preparation may want to go on retainer. This can all sound like a lot of money – we agree. We work to show you where you get your fee back in terms of a good result. Transparent, documented numbers used in easy to understand models stand up to intense scrutiny during negotiations.
Do you help women only?
No. DYSNYD is an advocate for both men and women. Many of our clients are men who also wish to understand the numbers and not create a financially stressed household post-divorce for either party. We can even work with a couple to create a fair and equitable financial settlement ready to present to an attorney to finalize the divorce.
As an agnostic financial professional, DYSNYD works with couples to cooperatively problem-solve financial issues. Each party’s interests are taken into consideration, with the ultimate goal being a mutually acceptable settlement.
DYSNYD’s services can be retained to work with one party in the divorce. In this role, DYSNYD works as a problem solver, as well as helping to educate clients on the impact of various settlement options. We will never participate in intentional financial injury to either party.
Does DYSNYD have experience working in mediation cases?
DYSNYD has worked on many mediation cases and have teamed up with the client and their attorney as they move through the mediation process to help evaluate options that are generated during mediation. This is one of our top strengths – solving the issues efficiently, transparently and to the satisfaction of both parties.
My spouse understands our finances better than I do. How can DYSNYD help me?
Divorce financial planning is not investment advice. One of the most important things that DYSNYD does during the divorce process is to make sure both can pay their bills post-divorce and have a financial foundation on which to build. DYSNYD is able to explain things in a straight forward manner, model outcomes and help you gain financial confidence.
I have received a settlement offer from my spouse. Can DYSNYD help me understand the impact of accepting it?
Absolutely. DYSNYD has the experience, skill set and technology needed to evaluate settlement options and provide feedback regarding the impact of the option(s). How do I know if I am receiving a fair settlement? In a nutshell, math modeling shows you if you are able to live with the settlement. DYSNYD can assist you with understanding the financial and tax impact of diverse settlement proposals covering asset distribution, debt assignment and spousal/child support.
What is alimony/spousal support/maintenance?
Spousal maintenance, also referred to as spousal support or alimony is a series of payments from one spouse to the other, often for a specified time-frame after a divorce. The purpose of maintenance is to help balance the earning abilities of each spouse so that they maintain a similar standard of living post-divorce. There are many potential options available including lump sum payments or a larger transfer of assets.
Are spousal support payments taxable or tax deductible?
It depends on whether you are making or receiving the payment. Spousal support is tax deductible if you are making the payment, as long as it is within IRS guidelines. If you are receiving the payment, it is taxable.
Can I work with DYSNYD as a financial planning or investment client after my divorce?
The answer is yes – but these are post-divorce services under a different contract. Every client signs a Conflict of Interest statement as part of our divorce financial planning contract. We ask the other spouse to sign a waiver of consent. This ensures fairness to both parties during the divorce process. We disclose the Conflict of Interest and if you have any trouble understanding it we will patiently explain to your satisfaction.