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Divorce and Your Child's Financial Aid in College

It is already difficult enough filling out forms for financial aid. Unfortunately, financial aid in college is one of the things that a divorce could make even trickier. If you are getting a divorce, it may be vital to understand what special rules will apply when your child submits forms for federal financial aid in college.

First of all, the application will be affected by where the child resides. You should be the parent filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) only if you are the parent who has provided care for most of that year. So even if your son or daughter stayed with you for five months, but stayed with the other parent for seven, then your income does not go on the FAFSA. This can be a benefit if one parent makes substantially less than the other; if the child lived more with the parent who made less, then this can boost their chances for getting aid. If it so happens that your child spent an equal amount of time with each of you, then whoever spent the most on providing for the child would complete the FAFSA.

When you are figuring out where your child spent the most time in the past year, the parameter for a year's time depends on the day that you sign the form. A year ago from that day is when the year started, and it is within that span that you have to look at with whom your child was living. It is also important to note that it does not matter whether or not a parent has the child listed on their tax return. If a parent is paying child support, this also has no bearing on who is supposed to fill out the form.

It does matter whether or not the parent with the most custody remarries. In this instance, both the custodial parent and their new spouse have to include their financial information on the application. There may be more divorce-specific rules depending on the college to which the child is applying. There are around 250 U.S. colleges, mostly private universities, where PROFILE forms have to be filled out, and by both parents too. Do not forget to look into this matter when applying to colleges; in this way, you can be prepared to take care of everything necessary to give your child the best chance at receiving financial aid.

This is a basic overview of how divorce could affect financial aid. If you have further questions about child custody or concerns about your financial future in a divorce, do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable Long Island divorce attorney.

At the Meyers Law Group, P.C., you can find both the answers and the outstanding legal representation that you need. Contact us today!