How divorced parents handle financial aid applications

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

When it comes to applying for financial aid, divorced parents often struggle when it comes to who should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly referred to as FASFA. Should it be the custodial parent? Does who pays child support play a role in who should file? What about a stepparent? Should there information be included?

Filling out FASFA was recently the topic of a CBS article. The topic came up after a divorced parent emailed Lynn O’Shaughnessy from CBS MoneyWatch.

According to O’Shaughnessy, it does not matter who has custody, who makes more money, or who is paying child support. Instead, what matters is where the child lives. This means that if a child lives with dad 60 percent of the time, the father would complete the FASFA and only include his income. But, if the child lives with the mom 55 percent of the time, the mom would be the one to fill out the FASFA.

In cases where a child spends their time split exactly down the middle, then the parent who spends the most money on the child’s care would be the one to fill out the FASFA.

In terms of what is included, for divorced parents only the one income needs to be included, unless the parent is remarried. In these cases, where let’s say a 19-year-old lives with his father and stepmom, the stepmom’s income also needs to be included in the FASFA.

It should be noted this is also for FASFA and that there are some schools — mostly private ones — that use the PROFILE aid form. This may mean including financial information for both parents.

Source: CBS News, “How does divorce affect college financial aid?” Lynn O’Shaughnessy, Sept. 27, 2013

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