The Pulse

Addressing The Rise In Financial Planning Needs For Unmarried Couples

College for Financial Planning relaunches ADPA Designation Program

CENTENNIAL, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–To address the evolving definition of the American household, the College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company, has relaunched its innovative Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor® (ADPA®) professional designation program to enable financial professionals to gain specialized knowledge of alternative planning techniques for unmarried couples.

The College created the ADPA® designation in 2010 prior to the ability of all couples to marry and sunsetted the program in 2015 following the Supreme Court’s approval of the marriage equality act.

“Following the availability of marriage to all couples, it was initially thought that the need for the ADPA® designation would diminish. However, this change in the law did not entirely eliminate the demand for a program focused on the needs of unmarried couples because relationships outside of marriage—regardless of sexual orientation or domestic arrangement—are becoming more common across all age groups,“ said Dr. Christopher Woehrle, Chair of Tax and Estate Planning and Professor at the College.

According to the National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends, marriage rates recently hit an all-time low, falling from 7.0 to 6.1 marriages per 1,000 people between 2016 to 2019, continuing a trend. As recently as 2001, the national rate was 8.2 marriages per 1,000 people.

Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Census Bureau statistics, cohabitation rates more than doubled over the most recent 20 years measured (1996-2017) as these relationships become more common and couples choose to remain unmarried.

Inside The ADPA Program

The ADPA® program is the only designation of its kind and features up-to-date content regarding the distinct planning differences for domestic partners compared to legally married couples.

The ADPA® curriculum is offered as a choice of live online classes or self-paced, asynchronous on-demand classes. Candidates learn about the unique financial planning needs for domestic partners, including wealth transfers, federal taxation issues, retirement and relationship concerns, medical and end-of-life needs, and qualitative planning considerations. As with all of the College’s designation programs, students have 120 days from the date they are provided online access to complete the program, including testing and passing the final exam

There are no prerequisites for candidates to enroll in the ADPA® program but certificate designation holders are usually already working in financial services as financial advisors, accountants, attorneys, wealth planners, bank trust officers, or retirement advisors.




About the College for Financial Planning
Founded in 1972, the College for Financial Planning®—A Kaplan Company provides accessible and flexible degree, non-degree, and continuing professional education programs to students nationwide. Shortly after its founding, the College introduced the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, which is now the world’s most recognized and respected financial planning credential with more than 88,000 certified professionals.
In addition to its CFP® Certification Professional Education Program, the College also offers a master’s degree in personal financial planning and financial analysis, and professional designation programs that provide more in-depth knowledge of the finance industry, with specializations ranging from asset management and retirement planning to sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investments. The College for Financial Planning is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. More than 174,000 students have graduated from the College’s programs. For more information, visit