Speakers and Sessions

Click the tabs below the see various speakers, sessions, and activites being held during the IDFA National Conference.

  • Day 1 September 30
  • Day 2 October 1
  • Day 3 October 2
  • General Session
09:00 AM - 12:00 PMPre-Conference Workshop – How to Kick Start Your CDFA Practice By Nancy Hetrick CDFA®, MAFF™, AWMA®
01:00 PMConference Kick-Off
01:30 PMClarifying Strategies for Social Security and Medicare By Mary Beth Franklin CFP®(Click to Expand)

Session Description:

Social Security and Medicare Rules for Divorced Spouses

For many retirees, Social Security is the only form of guaranteed income for life. The government program offers special benefits for married couples as well as former spouses, depending on how long they were married and their current marital status. Learn how your clients can maximize their Social Security retirement and survivor benefits and plan for their Medicare costs. Many retirees are surprised to learn that Medicare premiums are based on income and that those income thresholds are more stringent for single and divorced individuals than they are for married couples.

Mary Beth Franklin Bio:

Mary Beth Franklin is one of the country’s leading experts on Social Security and Medicare. 

An award-winning journalist and Certified Financial Planner, Mary Beth writes a weekly column on retirement issues for Investment News, a publication for financial advisers. She is also author of the ebook, Maximizing Your Social Security Retirement Benefits. 

In 2016, Mary Beth was honored with a Hero Award from the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) for her efforts to improve retirement security among women. She is also an inaugural member of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standard’s Women’s Initiative Council which focuses on improving gender and racial diversity in the financial services profession. 

Previously, Mary Beth served as the tax and retirement editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine and editor of Kiplinger’s annual Retirement Planning Guide. Earlier in her career, Mary Beth was a Capitol Hill reporter for United Press International. She is a frequent guest on numerous radio and television programs.

03:00 PMAdvice That Sticks By Dr. Moira Somers
04:30 PMWomen and Millenials By Cathy Hiscott, CFP, CHS
06:30 PM - 08:00 PMWelcome Reception by the Pool
  • General Session
  • Track One
  • Track Two
  • Track Three
09:00 AMOpening Remarks
09:30 AM - 10:30 AMBreakout Sessions – 9:30 AM(Click to Expand)

Track A

Track B

Track C

Track D

Sandy Voit

Karen D. Sparks

Faisal Karmali

College Funding, Student Loans, and Divorce

So, Your Client Needs What Type of Analysis?

The 5 Ps of Building a Strong CDFA Practice

Click on the Track Tabs Above for Descriptions

10:45 AM - 11:45 PMBreakout Sessions – 10:45 AM(Click to Expand)

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Track B

Track C

Track D

Tim Voit

Dan Caine

Carrie Heinzel


Family Law Software

Saving the Golden Goose

Click on the Track Tabs Above for Descriptions

12:00 PM - 01:00 PMLunch
01:00 PM - 02:00 PMBreakout Sessions – 1:00 PM(Click to Expand)

Track A

Track B

Track C

Track D

Nancy Hetrick

Cathy Sikorsky

James MacIntrye

Executive Compensation

Elder Care

Salaries, Dividends, and Ownership: Determining Income

Click on the Track Tabs Above for Descriptions

02:30 PM - 03:30 PMBreakout Sessions – 2:30 PM(Click to Expand)

Track A

Track B

Track C

Track D

Mark Pendergast


Micheline Maes

Right Capital

Attorney and Tax Considerations

How to Practice as a CDFA in the Wirehouse World

The Painbody and Financial Decisions in Divorce Negotiations

Click on the Track Tabs Above for Descriptions

04:30 PMCollaborative Law Panel By Panel
09:30 AM - 10:30 AMCollege Funding, Student Loans, and Divorce By Sandy Voit CDFA®, MS
10:45 AM - 11:45 AMRetirement Plan Issues & QDROs in Divorce By Tim Voit(Click to Expand)

How to Make You and Your Practice More Valuable in Marital Dissolution Cases

Session Description:

Tim Voit Bio:

Tim Voit is the author of Retirement Benefits & QDROs in Divorce (published by CCH), as well as Federal Retirement Plans in Divorce – Strategies & Issues. Tim Voit has prepared QDROs and valued pensions for nearly 30 years and taught at the International College courses specific to the preparation of QDROs. Tim Voit is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and has has been qualified as an expert witness in both state and federal courts.

Mr. Voit has been retained in legal malpractice cases by the insurance carrier to reverse QDRO transfers and/or compute damages, and he is often called upon to lecture on liability issues. Tim Voit has been interviewed and quoted in Forbes, BusinessWeek, NewsWeek, and Reuters. Mr. Voit has developed online courses for CCH, IOMA, and the International College, specifically the Introduction to QDROs in Divorce and Effectively Drafting QDROs in Divorce.

01:00 PM - 02:00 PMExecutive Compensation By Nancy Hetrick CDFA®, MAFF™, AWMA®
02:30 PM - 03:30 PMAttorney and Tax Considerations By Mark Pendergast
09:30 AM - 10:30 AMSo, Your Client Needs What Type of Analysis? Intensive Client CSE Study Review By Karen D. Sparks CDFA®, J.D.

Session Description:

Each client engagement for a CDFA™ provides its own unique blueprint and can often raise issues of first impression. This workshop will be an opportunity for practitioners to participate in an interactive and intensive learning session to develop best practices in identifying and analyzing the nuances of core client analysis tasks such as spousal support, unique assets, and investment/retirement accounts.

Karen D. Sparks Bio:

Karen D. Sparks, CDFA®, J.D. is the principal and owner of Divorce Financial StrategistsTM. Ms. Sparks has over 20 years of professional experience in the legal field providing senior level paralegal support and in the business sector as a CFO/Business Manager providing all aspects of financial oversight and project management support. In 2010, Ms. Sparks obtained her professional designation as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® from the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts®, which currently has over 5000 CDFA® practitioners across the United States and Canada. As a CDFA®, she can accomplish her primary objective to help clients establish and maintain financial health even in the midst of a difficult life challenge such as divorce or separation.

She serves clients locally throughout the state of California and nationwide for divorce and separation financial analysis as well as post-divorce financial implications. She is a frequent conference speaker focusing on all aspects of spousal support, mid-life divorce complications, and the intersection of culture and gender in the divorce process. Ms. Sparks has been a retained expert and trial expert witness regarding the marital standard of living analysis and has created very popular webinars on this subject. She has also been retained to provide business valuation analysis to determine income available for support and to determine separate and community interests for marital real estate.

She is the co-author of the “Stress Free Divorce Vol. 1” published in April 2017. Additionally, her published work includes articles in the Divorce Financial Analyst Journal, Family Lawyer Magazine and as a contributing financial expert for Worthy.com. In November 2019, Divorce Financial StrategistsTM was selected for the 2019 Best of Santa Clara Award in the Financial Services category by the Santa Clara Award Program.

Ms. Sparks is a member of the San Mateo County Bar Association, the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts®, and the Association of Divorce Financial Planners and she serves as a Fee Arbitrator for the San Mateo County Bar Association’s fee arbitrator program.

Ms. Sparks served as a director on the Board of Directors for the Association of Divorce Financial Planners from 2015 to 2018.

10:45 AM - 11:45 AMFamily Law Software By Dan Caine
01:00 PM - 02:00 PMElder Care By Cathy Sikorski, Esq.
02:30 PM - 03:30 PMHow Practice as a CDFA in the Wirehouse World By Panel
09:30 AM - 10:30 AMThe 5 Ps of Building a Strong CDFA Practice By Faisal Karmali, CIM, CFP®, FCSI, CDFA®(Click to Expand)

Session Description:

Business expert Faisal Karmali shares tips about the five key areas that you need to address to make your divorce practice successful, from positioning your service in the marketplace to managing your workflow and employees, to getting paid.

Faisal Karmali Bio:

Faisal Karmali, First Vice-President, at the Popowich Karmali Advisory Group, CIBC Wood Gundy, is an author, entrepreneur, advisor, and media personality. He provides Canadians with sound retirement planning advice as an Investment Advisor and Portfolio Manager. He has shared his expertise with the public for almost a decade by co-hosting More Than Money, a radio show on Calgary’s Global News Radio (770CHQR) dedicated to retirement finance and lifestyle topics. Faisal also regularly appears across various other media to discuss financial and retirement issues, including providing daily business and market updates on both Global News Radio (770CHQR) and CTV Morning Live. To provide advice to business owners, he also hosts his own podcast and YouTube series, Real Talk with Faisal Karmali.

In January 2018 and 2019, Wealth Professional Canada listed Faisal as one of the top 50 advisors in Canada, and the Popowich Karmali Advisory Group was also named one of Wealth Professional Canada’s 2018 Elite Advisory Teams. In 2020, Faisal was named Wealth Professional Canada’s Top Advisor in Canada.

10:45 AM - 11:45 AMSaving the Golden Goose: Family Run Businesses and Family Law By Carrie Heinzl, HBSc., CDFA®
01:00 PM - 02:00 PMSalaries, Dividends and Ownership: Determining Income By James MacIntyre, CPA, CA, CDFA(Click to Expand)

Session Description:

The number one question and starting point for financial discussions related to divorce is, “What is his/her income?” This question becomes extremely difficult for all parties when one, both or others, has holdings in companies. We will look at actual case examples to help understand how accountants, or financial advisors, should determine a starting point for income. We will start with a single company scenario, then look at a multiple company scenario. In addition, I will offer suggestions as to which expenses in the company/companies where I believe further investigation is warranted, as they may not be needed to earn income, even though they may be tax-deductible directly. I will provide examples of how some individuals use dividends and salaries to defer their income, while legally reporting income in different years for tax purposes.

James MacIntyre Bio:

James has been a designated Chartered Accountant for 20 years and has worked in public practice, had postings of Chief Financial Officer, multiple Directorships and owned his own companies.  James taught all facets of accounting and taxation at the local University for several years and has achieved multiple awards, including Top 20 Under 40 Best Young Entrepreneurs. His experience is strongest in forensic accounting and creating efficient accounting internal controls and systems.  He has supported several legal firms in their divorce work and has the additional skill sets to meet with both sides in a collaborative setting.  James lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada with his beautiful wife Mandy, teenage twin daughters, two German Shepherds and enjoys playing hockey.

02:30 PM - 03:30 PMThe Painbody and Financial Decisions in Divorce Negotiations By Micheline Maes CFP, CDFA, EPC, RFM(Click to Expand)

Session Description:

In this session, Micheline will share her experiences as a family mediator and CDFA regarding the importance of the intake process and how the Financial Expert can be a positive catalyst in your clients’ journey.
More than ever, the emotional “soundtrack” will play an important role in the decision making process for our clients. We will explore options in possible approaches to acknowledge and validate our client’s fears, hopes, and dreams. We will look at skills we can share with our clients to help them navigate this transition, especially in high conflict.

“We are a party to an often difficult journey, and as such, we have a responsibility to try and create a positive ripple effect extending beyond the immediate family” – Micheline Maes

Micheline Maes Bio:

Micheline Maes, CFP®, CDFA®, EPC, RFM is a Registered Family Mediator who also holds the Certified Financial Planner and Elder Planning Counselor designations. Micheline is a Registered Family Mediator in Alberta and British Columbia.

Micheline has served on the board for the Alberta Collaborative Professionals as a Financial Neutral. She decided to sell her financial planning practice in 2013 to devote herself full time to alternative dispute resolution with a focus on family and financial education. For the past five years, she has provided mediation/negotiation services in a unique format in the areas of separation, divorce, and estate settlements. Micheline also provides litigation support to legal counsel, with emphasis on financial education and bringing clarity to the table.

Most recently, Micheline also furthered her education and is now an instructor with Newways4families, with a focus on helping high conflict families.

  • General Session
10:00 AM - 12:00 PMCFP Ethics By Peggy Frye, CeFT, CFP
01:00 PM - 04:00 PMPost-Conference Workshop – QRDO Drafting and Specialization By Timothy Voit