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Divorce Can Greatly Impact Your Child’s College Financial Aid

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In an earlier blog entry, we shared information that would allow you to find out if you’re going to be on the hook for your child’s college education. In this entry, we’ll share information that originally appeared in USA Today about crucial student aid reminders for children of divorced parents.

Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible.

Short for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FAFSA is the main form that most students and their families complete to apply for student loans, scholarships, grants and work-study money.

Because some college financial aid is given out on a first-come, first served basis, it’s critical that you submit the completed form as soon as possible to be eligible.

Children need to have a clear understanding about which parent’s tax info should be included on the FAFSA.

Students who are already living on their own don’t need to worry about this. But for those who live with either parent, here’s how it breaks down:

  1. If the parents are divorced or separated yet still live together, insurance information for both should be listed on the FAFSA.
  2. If the divorced or separated parents do not live together, the insurance particulars of the custodial parent should be listed.

** If the custodial parent has remarried, the stepparent’s information should be included.

  1. For children who have lived with each parent for an equal amount of time and both parents provided financial support that is more or less equal, it may be in your best interest to be a bit strategic about things.

    Some parents have taken steps to carefully craft their divorce agreements so that the lower-earning parent can be listed as the custodial parent – making it more likely that the child will have a better chance at qualifying for financial aid.

Make sure child support and spousal support are listed separately to qualify for more aid.

The FAFSA will ask for the date of the divorce, mainly for tax purposes. The form will also ask for the amount of child support and/or alimony the custodial parent receives.

It’s vital that the spousal support amount, if applicable, not be listed as child support because, unlike child support, alimony is taxable. Not knowing the difference can kick the child’s parents into a different tax bracket in the eyes of the FAFSA folks – resulting in the child not qualifying for certain forms of aid.

Want Divorce Questions Answered? Call The Men’s Legal Center

It seems like there are a million and one things to consider during and after a divorce – particularly if you have children.

Because it’s difficult to anticipate how the divorce will impact certain areas of your life and the lives of those you love, it’s vital that you leverage the skills and foresight of the attorneys here at The Men’s Legal Center who are committed to guiding you to the best possible outcome.

Call us at 619-234-3838 or send an email.