Top 5 Mistakes of Divorce Financial Planners


MARCH, 2017

Nancy A Hetrick

Even though we’ve been around for a long time, it really does feel like our specialty is just now coming into its own. As I grow my practice and train financial advisors around the country to pursue this niche, I’ve discovered that there are a few consistent mistakes made that hold people back and prevent them from being successful.

#5 – Starting Out By Marketing to Attorneys

Marketing to Attorneys out of the gate is the most DIFFICULT path to ramping up your business. We have a long way to go before attorneys broadly recognize our value in their cases. They’re also extremely concerned about their reputation and hesitant to bring in an expert that they don’t know. A new CDFA® holder will be much more successful marketing to individuals, mediators, therapists and other centers of influence.

#4 – Not Competent with Family Law Software

Family Law Software is certainly the most common software used by divorce financial planners and I can’t tell you how many of my students have worked and worked to get their first cases and when they do, are completely overwhelmed with Family Law Software. It’s an extremely robust tool with a steep learning curve that you only master with experience. Do yourself a favor and create fictitious cases to process and practice. Don’t get caught flat-footed when a complex case presents itself.

“Marketing to Attorneys out of the gate is the most DIFFICULT path to ramping up your business.”

#3 – No Systems

When divorce financial planners start out, they’re so focused on getting their first clients that they forget that they better know what to do with them when they do! Before you ever start marketing, it’s critical to create your new client onboarding procedures as well as a structure for how you’re going to work together. In my training programs we spend a great deal of time on the client process for different scenarios so that they’re well prepared for their first cases.

#2 – No Time or Money for Startup Costs

I tell my students often that when you start your divorce business, you have to have one of two things – time or money.  If you have time, you can build your own website, learn about SEO and social media and really do-it-yourself on almost all aspects of building your business. But if you’re managing a wealth practice with over 100 households, you’re not likely to have the bandwidth for all that. In that case, you have to have the funds to hire it done. No business can be legitimate today without a quality website and online presence. A decent website will cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 dollars. Other startup costs will include software, insurance, LLC formation, etc.

“No business can be legitimate today without a quality website and online presence.”

#1 – Becoming a Divorce Planner to Gather Assets

By far, the biggest mistake I’ve seen financial advisors make is to pursue the divorce niche because they think it’s going to be a great way to gather assets. Now don’t get me wrong, it IS a way to gather assets. But if that’s your primary motivator, you will fail. This work is hard! It’s emotional, time consuming, complicated, overwhelming at times, and dealing with couples that are at their very worst will burn you out at record speed if you’re not passionate at some level about what you’re doing. The most successful divorce financial planners have been personally touched by divorce and are compelled to have a positive impact on the system and help people have more successful outcomes.

If you’re considering adding a divorce niche to your practice, be aware of these mistakes and make sure that you go in with your eyes open. If you’re looking for more resources to build your business, check out our training opportunities at


  1. Divorce Mediation San Diego

    Found your post interesting to read. I cant wait to see your post soon. Good Luck for the upcoming update.This article is really very interesting and effective.

    • Nancy Hetrick

      Thanks! I’m going to kick it in soon and blog more often!


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