Our History

A financial planner in Boulder, Colorado, Carol Ann Wilson pioneered the development of courses to educate other financial professionals in assisting those experiencing economic difficulties often inherent in separation and divorce. The training was based upon her years of experience with clients, the legal community and mental health professionals. Linda Cartier was the first Canadian woman to be trained by Carol Ann in 1997, and to bring this specialty to serve clients in Canada.

Linda felt that an all-Canadian organization was required to better serve the interests of both the financial planning community and the general public.

Linda Cartier and Akeela Davis (both Certified and Registered Financial Planners) used their extensive practical and training experience in this specialized area of financial planning and created the totally Canadian training organization “The Academy of Financial Divorce Specialists” (AFDS) in October 2003.

Akeela was inspired to actively focus her practice in this area of financial planning and authored the book “Your Divorce, Your Dollars”, revised as “Divorce Dollars – Get Your Fair Share” that is no longer in print now. She has retired from the Academy a few years back.

In 2020, the Academy became the sole organization educating Canadians in this niche area and we’re happy to welcome the financial professionals from the IDFA who had a prerequisite financial designation and their CDFA designation (the equivalent to the CFDS). All the new members now have their Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist, CFDS designation.

Chartered Financial Divorce Specialists (CFDS) course

All Canadian Training Content

Linda, the President and Lead Trainer of the Academy of Financial Divorce Specialists, was a developer and trainer for the College for Divorce Specialists and has spearheaded the development of the proprietary “Perspectives Software©” exclusively for use by CFDS students and members.


The name for the designation came about because of input from a number of Law Societies that wanted a definition to reflect the role a financial planner plays in the separation and divorce process. The Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist designation that is used today has been warmly accepted by the legal community and is also recognized by the Financial Planning Standards Council and other organizations across Canada.

The basic elements of our logo consists of the Maple Leaf representing our identity as a National organization registered with Industry Canada.  The Dollar Sign together with the Balance Beam symbolizes the equalization of assets for couples during life transitions. 

Based in Sudbury Ontario, the Academy trains Financial Professionals across Canada in the areas of tax, cash flow, risk management, tax and division of assets to name a few of the key elements. Training is available online in Self Study format, where students learn at their own pace.

Academy of Financial Divorce Specialists

Proudly Serving Professionals and the Canadian Public since 2003