Local Professionals Rely On Network To Serve Clients Going Through Divorce
By Tina Traster
It takes a village to get a family through a divorce. That, essentially, is the core principle for the National Association of Divorce Professionals, a networking and professional support group co-founded five years ago by CEO Vicky Townsend.
“Divorce involves so many aspects of people’s lives – law, finances, real estate, well-being,” said Townsend, who says NADP has grown to 1,000 members and 35 chapters nationwide.
Now, three Rockland professionals are gearing up to establish a local chapter, which they hope will be up and running by October.
“We are the leadership team,” said Shari Reffsin, a financial planner for Orazio Financial Services, LLC in Suffern who is working with divorce coach Susan Bernstein and realtor Amy Samett.
“This organization is all about bringing divorce professionals together,” said Reffsin. “Professionals handling clients who are going through a divorce need a network of other professionals for support and referrals.”
The divorce rate in the U.S. is still near 50% for first-time marriages, and considerably higher for second and third marriages.
“What we do is bring professionals together who are closely vetted and need to prove their chops, to show that they know what they are doing so that a family going through a divorce will be cared for,” said Townsend. “We are essentially giving divorce professionals the tools to put together a team to help a family through a hellish part of their life.”
NADP professionals pay a one-time fee of $149 to join the organization, and a $450 annual membership. Chapter members are required to join the national organization. Each chapter allows three members to be from the same profession. Chapters typically include lawyers, accountants, financial planners, mental health professionals, divorce coaches, real estate professionals and others involved in an industry that interfaces with divorce.
Reffsin and Bernstein met on the Internet.
“Susan was looking for a divorce financial analyst,” said Reffsin. The two met, clicked, and have become colleagues who share information and help one another with referrals. When Bernstein told Reffsin about NADP – an organization unfamiliar to her – they both agreed Rockland needed a chapter.
The NADP has a rigorous vetting process for its members. Townsend says the organization asks for two professional referrals, as well as looking at professional online rankings and LinkedIn profiles. The organization ensures that a professional’s license, which must be at least three years old, is in good standing, and does not have any disciplinary actions listed.
“Divorce is a very emotional process,” said Townsend. “We want to know what kind of experience others have had working with prospective members.”
Reffsin added the organization wants to make sure professionals are truly focused on divorce in their practice,” said Reffsin.
”For what I do, I need a network,” she said. “When I have a legal issue, I call an attorney. When there’s a tax issue, I might has to reach out to a forensic accountant.”
What Reffsin hopes to build is a strong, local network.
Reffsin is a long-time financial planner who focuses on divorce. In 2008, she received certification from the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts, an organization that has certified more than 5,000 professionals who specialize in accounting, financial, and legal careers.
Bernstein, of Divorce Coach Plus, is a nationally-certified divorce coach specializing in post-divorce recovery. She will be the chapter’s director. Reffsin will be the assistant director. Samett is a sales associate, realtor with Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty. The leadership team plans to hold chapter meetings over lunch on Fridays but the location has yet to be determined.
If you are interested in the NADP’s Rockland chapter, please email Reffsin at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on NADP, please visit their site: https://www.thenadp.com/default.aspx