FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


+ Why become a CFDS?

  • To serve clients going through major life transitions.
  • To provide a much needed service to those separating and divorcing individuals during a difficult time in their lives.
  • To provide education and reduce stress regarding the financial aspects of income, asset division, debt management, tax concerns and cash flow challenges.
  • Improve the long term impact to financial choices during life changing moments.

+ What does a CFDS do?

  • Assists clients in understanding their financial situation and the process they are going through when separating or divorcing.
  • Helps achieve goals and deals with concerns for financial security and a practical view of options being considered in pivotal times of transition.
  • Provides clients with a reality check.
  • Uses projections and analytical tools to reveal the implications of choices being considered that effect tax costs, inflation, growth, cash flow, etc. both for today and years ahead.

+ How does using a CFDS bring value?

A CFDS is able to provide projections revealing the consequences of various options that serves as a reality check that will assist in bringing resolution for the stumbling blocks that cause cases to drag on.
A CFDS reduces a lawyer’s liability regarding the financial facts being the true neutral, objective third party specially trained to analyze the entire financial status in this area.

+ What type of clients use the services of an CFDS?

Separating or divorcing couples, people who are in the process of joining lives and finances and/or anyone going through a serious life transition.

+ Why does a client need a CFDS when they already have a lawyer?

Clients benefit from the skills of a CFDS that are focused on the financial aspects of separation and divorce while the lawyers are trained in legal aspects providing a very different function for separating and divorcing clients. Ideally, a team of a CFDS, Family Professional or Coach and Lawyer are used to achieve the best result for all members of the family.

+ What type of communication would occur between a CFDS and a lawyer if working together or a case?

  • Financial reports.
  • Tax returns.
  • Budgets and cash flow statements.
  • Insurance and risk management reports.
  • Income analysis.
  • Tools to manage clients’ lifestyle transitions.

+ Will using a CFDS mean getting a bigger settlement or more support?

No, a CFDS provides information and specialized reports to give you the tools to make better choices from your options that could result in a more satisfactory settlement for everyone involved.

+ Will it cost a client more by using a lawyer and a CFDS?

The faster a client understands the financial status and all the consequences of choices being considered, the less it will cost in legal bills. It is vital to be prepared for the impact of all choices to protect against financial ruin.

+ How much does the average case cost?

Depending on the community the average case would generally cost have a large range, depending upon the scope of the work. Starting expenses is at $1,500 for a very simple case. If a long, involved case, the cost would be based on the scope and hours of work involved.

+ Are there Chartered Financial Divorce Specialists across Canada?

Yes, all 10 provinces and 2 territories have qualified CFDS professionals available to serve the public.
To access a CFDS in your area, go to Find a Specialist to use the directory.

+ How does a CFDS become qualified?

Financial professionals must have an existing financial designation as a base criteria to be eligible to take our program. They enroll in our program consisting of:
  • Ethics, practice standards.
  • Tax rules, tax credits and benefits.
  • Risk management.
  • Budgeting and cash flow analysis.
  • Proprietary software to project all aspects of clients’ financial outcomes.
  • Complete the 4 modules and exams, including case study work to graduate.

+ What are the prerequisites to take the course?

The legal community recognizes that only those with a financial planning designation are acceptable to engage in this complex area of practice. Anyone holding one of the designations below and working in the industry, may enroll in the CFDS training.
Note that no exceptions will be made, you must be in good standing with one of the following designations. If the designation you hold is not part of this list, you do not qualify to take the course.
  1. Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Fin. Pl. designation from the IQPF (Institut québécois de planification financière)
  2. Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) (Including legacy designations of CA, CGA, and CMA).
  3. Registered Financial Planner (R.F.P.)
  4. Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
  5. Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) with proof of taking the fundamentals of Financial Planning (FOFP) course
  6. Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
  7. Personal Financial Planner (PFP)
  8. Qualified Associate Financial Planner (QAFP)

+ What qualifications are necessary to become a CFDS and maintain the designation?

First, review the existing list of credited financial designations that are recognized for the required prerequisite. Once the designation has been awarded, annual education and work in the field are necessary. In total 15 Financial Planning education credits are required from the previous designations owned, plus 5 more education credits focused on separation and divorce are also necessary to maintain the CFDS designation.

+ Is there any upgrading required for a CFDS?

It is necessary to have 15 annual education credits in this area, above the regular Financial Planning credits, to be a professional in good order and maintain the designation and a additional 5 in financial aspects of divorce or separations.

+ How many credits do I need for renewal?

Members are required to adhere to the AFDS code of Ethics and Practice Standards, possess Errors and Omissions Insurance (where applicable), and acquire Continuing Education credits. These include: 15 CE credits related to financial matters involving personal finance, education, estate planning, retirement, insurance, business, support, legal, etc. and 5 CE credits in regards to separation and divorce such as mediation training, attending the AFDS Professional Development Day or from reviewing materials available through online access. The AFDS does not require proof upon renewal however reserves the right to audit its members at a later date.

+ What is the requirement for membership renewal?

Members are required to adhere to the AFDS code of Ethics and Practice Standards, possess Errors and Omissions Insurance (where applicable), acquire Continuous Education credits. These include: 15 CE credits related to financial matters involving personal finance, education, estate planning, retirement, insurance, business, support, legal, etc. and 5 CE credits in regards to separation and divorce such as mediation training, attending the AFDS Professional Development Day or from reviewing materials available through online access. The AFDS does not require proof upon renewal however reserves the right to audit its members at a later date.

+ What are the membership benefits?

Upon completion of the course, members are awarded the CFDS designation. They are posted on the AFDS website for marketing and advertising of qualification for referrals. They are granted access to the member’s area on the website to access the Perspectives Software© and updates, access to forums and other practical resources.

+ How long does it take to complete the course?

The course takes approximately 80 hours minimum to complete.

+ What can you expect to learn from taking course?

The course is offered online and includes 4 online exams, one practice case study and one final case study submission. During the course you can expect to learn about the following (from our syllabus):
  • Definitions
  • Concepts connected to separation and divorce
  • Chartered Financial Divorce Specialists role
  • Ethics
  • Practice Standards and Conduct
  • Calculating Worksheets – cash flow/budget needs and net worth
  • Taxation – specific to separation and divorce
  • Legal understanding of terminology
  • Asset and debt division
  • Investment issues
  • Pensions – public and private
  • Support – child and spousal
  • Children’s issues
  • Risk management issues –insurance concerns
  • Practice and process procedures and tools
  • Legal process & Collaborative practice
  • Software training
  • Case Studies’ applications utilizing the software
  • Client interaction/management techniques
  • Four exams
In addition to extensive course content, including resource materials related to the professional practice and marketing, we also provide tools such as an advanced calculating worksheet and a specialized software to assists with financial projections.

+ What will I gain from taking the course?

Upon successful completion of the course, students are awarded the distinguished designation of Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist (CFDS). They also receive various CE credits as listed below:
InstitutionCE CreditsDetails
The Institute of Advanced Financial Education (Advocis)30Includes 1 Ethics credits
Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC)40Financial Planning Credits (40)
Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)30Cycle 7
Insurance Council of Saskatchewan (ICS)138 Insurance, 5 Non-Insurance
Alberta Insurance Council (AIC)2515 Life, 10 Accidents & Sickness
Insurance Council of Manitoba 24Life, Accident & Sickness - Open
Institut québecois de la planification financière (IQPF)1410 PDUs Financial Planning SPFA, 4 PDUs Compliance with Standards, Ethics and Professional Practice SC
Chambre de la sécurité financière30General 12, Compliance 5, Insurance of Persons 10, Group Insurance 3 - 60 hours of Financial Planning in the Aspect of Separation, Divorce and Cohabitation

+ Can I get help with my studies?

After each Module, students are able to schedule a phone appointment with Linda to review materials covered. These phone appointments are designed to allow students to ask questions or receive clarification of the materials they just covered prior to writing their exam.

+ Where do I write my exams?

The final exam is done on your own time. Once completed you send a copy of your proposed divorce plan to the Academy. You have one year to complete the course. To view the Exam retake fee, go to the Pricing Details.

+ How long do I have to complete the course?

As of the day of enrollment, you have one year to complete the course and 30 days to complete the final exam. Should completion not be achieved, a course extension or exam extension can be granted if the student contacts the Academy and pays extension fee.
For prices on Course extensions go to the Pricing Details.

+ What are the technology Requirements for the Perspectives Software?

The Perspectives Software is a web-based software application that works using a web browser on any connected device (computer, tablet, or mobile phone).

+ Can I get a refresher on the software?

Yes, Contact Us to set up your individual session.

+ How much does the course cost?

Our prices vary depending on your training method choice. All course content is the same, the difference is the delivery methods. For more information go to the Pricing Details.

+ Accepted method of payments?

The Academy of Financial Divorce Specialists accepts payments via PayPal. Note that you do not need a PayPal account to purchase items, you can simply do a one time transaction with your credit card. PayPal is a secure third party and the AFDS does not receive any of your credit card information.

+ Does the AFDS issue T2202A?

CRA does not allow us to do the T2202A as the course can only be taken by professionals. Therefore the CRA deems that students are already allowed to write off the cost of the course via business expenses.