Qualifications for Neutral Financial Professionals

Qualifications for Neutral Financial Professionals

Written by My Collaborative Team President, Edward S. Sachs, ACP

At last week’s Happy Hour we discussed the qualifications required to be a neutral financial professional.  The discussion was driven by questions raised to us by a lawyer in a community where there is only one active financial neutral and recruitment efforts for additional financials has been difficult.

The IACP minimum standards for Collaborative Financial Practitioners require a professional license or designation in good standing in one of the following:

  • Certified Financial Planner
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Chartered Accountant
  • Certified Management Accountant
  • Certified General Accountant
  • Chartered Financial Consultant

Other equivalent license or designation in a state, province or country that requires a broad-based financial background and continuing education, and that is regulated by a governing body under a code of ethics. is also acceptable.

There are additional required background and education requirements including twenty hours of education in the financial fundamentals of divorce, the Introductory Collaborative training and a thirty hour mediation training.  Finally the practitioner must also have fifteen hours of training in communication and Collaborative training.

Our discussion centered not only on these requirements, but also on a discussion as to whether the commonly known designation of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) meets the requirements.  I have invited David Smith, himself a CDFA, to write about the CDFA designation in a future blog.

Beyond these minimum standards, the Collaborative Financial professional is also bound by the IACP Ethical Standards regarding neutrals.  The most critical of those standards is Standard 3.6 which states that a Collaborative financial neutral will not have any other business or professional relationship with a Collaborative client during of after the conclusion of the matter.

As neutrals we must go overboard in protecting our neutrality.  We should give NO reasons or NO opportunity for anyone to honestly question our neutrality.

Join us this Friday at 4:30 p.m. for Happy Hour as we continue this important discussion.

3 Responses

  1. Hello, Eric. I’ve been following along for a few weeks. I have been a licensed mortgage professional for 30+ years. I have assisted in hundreds of divorce scenarios and continue to work with local divorce attorneys to assist their clients that have a need to refinance or purchase after the divorce is final. My part includes consultations on things like qualifying, using alimony and child support as income, court ordered buyouts, jointly obligated debts and options for borrowers returning to the work force. I would like to see an opportunity for mortgage professionals to obtain a collaborative designation.

  2. It is difficult to find a financial professional who would be willing to do this kind of work. I know for me; I sold my FP business after obtaining my CFDS (Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist – Canadian version) and also becoming a Family Mediator. The main reason for the transition to this business was that I went through a separation that lasted 7 years and some of the discussion points that caused delays were financial matters. I saw a niche and thought I could make a difference. Most FP may not want to do “both” businesses as certain regulatory bodies and licenses have issues with “outside business dealings”.

  3. Interesting topic. I am a 36yr divorce lawyer with 20 yrs of mediation experience. I became a CDFA in 2018. My practice is limited to Collaborative and Mediation. I wonder whether the IDFA and IACP are talking with each other about this limitation. While I loved challenging myself to become a CDFA, I’m not sure I would have bothered if I had realized that the IACP doesn’t “endorse” financial neutrals with that designation. Wish me luck on the CFP exam.