The DLA has adopted a Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility (“Code”), which establishes minimum standards of acceptable professional conduct for individuals entitled to use the CDLP® certification mark and the marks CDLP® and Certified Divorce Lending Professional (collectively, “the marks”). A CDLP® designee’s use of the marks is a proclamation to the public that the CDLP® designee is a person that members of the public can trust for advice regarding the financial aspects of divorce. A CDLP® designee will be faithful to that trust, will hold inviolate the client's confidence, and will competently fulfill their responsibilities to the client. Adherence to the Code is mandatory for all CDLP® designees, and the DLA will strictly enforce its provisions. Non-compliance may result in certification revocation. 

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Rules and Policies

Grounds for Disciplinary Investigation: 

  • Failure to follow the CDLP® Code of Ethics and Practice Standards. 
  • Conviction of state or federal law criminal violation, whether or not the violation occurred while working with a client. 
  • Such other circumstances are deemed appropriate by the DLA. 

Forms of Discipline 

DLA action as a result of a complaint can result in the following forms of discipline: 

  • Dismissal - After examination, the Ethics Committee chairman has determined that the complaint is without warrant, and the charge against the CDLP® designee has been dismissed. No further action is needed, and the matter remains confidential. 
  • Private Censure Letter - The ethics committee chairman has determined that a letter of censure will be placed in the CDLP® designee’s file. No further action is required, and the matter remains confidential. 
  • Suspension
  • Revocation
  • Such other discipline as the DLA determines is appropriate. 

The DLA will determine the disciplinary action to be taken on a case-by-case basis at its discretion. 

Investigation Process

  1. All complaints against a CDLP® designee must be submitted in writing to the DLA. 
  2. The chairman of the Ethics Committee will request that the CDLP® designee forward all pertinent information to the chairman within 30 days. Failure to comply with an information request within this time may result in disciplinary action. 
  3. The chairman will evaluate the validity of the complaint and make a disciplinary recommendation. 
  4. Should the CDLP® designee disagree with the chairman’s decision, they may appeal it in writing within 20 days. 
  5. The Steering Committee will review the information and decide the appropriate course of action within a reasonable period. 
  6. The Steering Committee’s decision is final and binding. 
  7. Reinstatement After Discipline 
  8. Reinstatement After Suspension: Upon the expiration of the suspension period, a CDLP® designee must file with the DLA, within 30 days of the expiration of the suspension period, an affidavit stating that the suspended CDLP® has fully complied with the suspension order and with all applicable provisions of the order. 
  9. A revocation shall be permanent, and there shall be no opportunity for reinstatement. 

Confidentiality of Proceedings 

Dismissals and private censures will be handled as soon as possible.  The DLA will make such disclosures as are required to satisfy the requirements of law or the lawful orders or processes of the court or other governmental body or agency or as reasonably required for any regulatory compliance.  Suspensions and Revocations will be made available to the public at the discretion of the DLA. 


Practice Standards

The Divorce Lending Professional Practice Standards establish the professionalism expected of Certified Divorce Lending Professional (CDLP®) practitioners. These principles-based Standards have been developed to guide those involved in divorce mortgage planning services. 

The Certified Divorce Lending Professional certification process conveys to the public that individuals authorized to use the CDLP® designation have met stringent professional standards and agreed to adhere to the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. 


Candidates must have three years of relevant experience, including residential mortgage origination experience, financial planning, mediation, etc.  

Candidates must have and maintain an active NMLS record and appropriate state licensing in good standing as residential mortgage originators.

Candidates may petition the Board of Advisors for an exception to the eligibility requirements by writing to Divorce Lending Association 12832 Dominion Drive Fairhope, AL 36532 


CDLP® candidates must also develop their theoretical and practical understanding and knowledge of the financial aspects of divorce by completing a comprehensive course of study approved by the Divorce Lending Association, LLC (DLA). 

CDLP® Certification Examination 

CDLP® candidates must complete a five-part Educational Curriculum and Certification Exam that tests their understanding and knowledge of the mortgage and real property aspects of divorce.  


CDLP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct known as the DLA Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, which sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients, employers, and other professionals. The DLA may perform a background check during this process, and each CDLP® candidate must disclose any investigations or legal proceedings relating to his or her professional or business conduct. 

Ongoing CDLP® Certification Requirements 

CDLP® practitioners are required to maintain technical competence and to fulfill ethical obligations. Practitioners must pay an annual recertification fee of $395. Every year, they must complete a minimum of six (6) hours of continuing education specifically related to the field of divorce. Two hours of continuing education must be obtained through the DLA annual continuing education course. 

In addition to the annual continuing education requirement, all CDLP® practitioners must voluntarily disclose any public, civil, criminal, or disciplinary actions that may have been taken against them during the past two years as part of the renewal process. 

Divorce Lending Professional Process 

Although the scope of service for divorce mortgage engagements will vary, CDLP® practitioners should use the following process: 

Step #1: Establish and Define the Relationship with the Client or Prospective Client 

  • Mutual agreement regarding the scope of service(s) to be provided. 
  • Agreement regarding fee arrangement and compensation. 
  • Disclose any limitations or conflicts of interest. 
  • Determine the client’s and the practitioner’s responsibilities. 
  • Providing any additional information necessary to define or limit the scope of the service. 

Step #2: Gather client data and information relevant to the engagement. 

  • The practitioner shall obtain sufficient quantitative and qualitative information and financial documents relative to the scope of service. 
  • If the CDLP® practitioner is not able to obtain sufficient case information, financial records, or documents, which could impact the completion of the assignment and/or the conclusions and opinions that can be reached, the CDLP® practitioner shall communicate this to the client. 

Step #3: Completion of Analysis / Assignment 

  • CDLP® practitioners must use reasonable, unbiased judgment when making conclusions and developing a financial opinion relative to an assignment. 
  • Assumptions used should be based on sound economic / mortgage planning principles. 

Step #4: Presentation and delivery of the work product/assignment 

  • Analyses and reports that CDLP® practitioners complete should be done professionally and competently to reflect the high standards of the divorce lending profession and the DLA. 

Step #5: Completion of Engagement 

  • Ater a divorce mortgage planning engagement, CDLP® practitioners should send written correspondence to their respective Clients to confirm the completion of the engagement. 

Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility is provided as an expression of the ethical standards that the Divorce Lending Association has adopted and every Certified Divorce Lending Professional has agreed to abide by. The code applies to every Certified Divorce Lending Professional designee and candidate conducting divorce-planning work. 

  1. Integrity. Maintain the highest standard of honesty and integrity when dealing with colleagues, the DLA, clients, or attorneys. Avoid practices that dishonor your profession, DLA, or its members and employees. 
  2. Competence. In addition to satisfying the continuing education requirement needed to maintain the designation, every CDLP® should serve their clients competently. Therefore, acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary in divorce planning is required. 
  3. Objectivity. Objectivity requires a CDLP® to be intellectually honest and impartial. Regardless of who hired them, a CDLP® will always be objective when dealing with clients and their attorneys. 
  4. Fairness. CDLP® professionals who maintain their traditional mortgage practices should make divorce mortgage planning recommendations independent of the potential mortgage origination relationship; doing so will alleviate the risk of possible conflict of interest. To do so, a CDLP® must disclose to their prospective clients that their mortgage origination practice and divorce mortgage planning practices are independent business relationships and clearly delineate which services are included in each practice. 
  5. Confidentiality. A CDLP® shall hold client information to the highest standard of confidentiality. Short of client consent or appropriate legal process, a CDLP® shall not release any information about their client before, during, or after the divorce. 
  6. Professionalism. A CDLP® professional’s interactions shall project the highest levels of professionalism. Whether dealing with clients, attorneys, DLA, or any of its partners or subsidiaries, a CDLP® will behave professionally. 
  7. Scope. A CDLP® professional, by education and training, is a specialist in the mortgage financial issues of divorce. Working alongside an attorney who is licensed to practice law, a CDLP® professional must never (unless licensed to do so) advise clients on their legal rights. In addition, a CDLP® professional must never misleadingly market his or her services or represent himself or herself as a representative of DLA. 
  8. Compliance. A CDLP® professional will comply with all the laws related to the business they conduct and report to the DLA any actions by other CDLP® professionals that are illegal or in violation of this code. In addition, a CDLP® professional will comply with any requests from the DLA for information regarding any complaints brought against them. If DLA, after a comprehensive investigation, decides that either suspension or revocation of the CDLP® designation is the proper remedy, a CDLP® professional will comply with the order. 
  9. Unauthorized practice of law. A CDLP® professional understands that one must be licensed to practice law. Under no circumstances will a CDLP® professional represent that the DLA certification is a license to practice law. 
  10. Support. A CDLP® professional will always support our profession and the DLA as the main driving force behind its progress. Additionally, a CDLP® professional will not collude, debase, or discredit the DLA or the profession.