Divorced Parents

When parents are facing divorce and there will be children eventually going to college, parents need to familiarize themselves with the complexities the financial aid forms will present and consider how financial aid decisions will be made.  If parents spend the time educating themselves, in most cases they will not become a casualty of the financial aid system.   The most common mistake we see divorced parents make is they wait until it’s too late and do not understand all their options which typically results in an overstatement of income and assets because they are unsure which parents information should be used thereby disqualifying the family for need based financial aid.

If your parents are separated or divorced, the custodial parent is responsible for filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The custodial parent for federal student aid purposes is the parent with whom you lived the most during the past 12 months.  (The twelve month period is the twelve month period ending on the FAFSA application date, not the previous calendar year.)  Note that this is not necessarily the same as the parent who has legal custody.

If you did not live with one parent more than the other, the parent who provided you with the most financial support during the past twelve months should fill out the FAFSA.  This is probably the parent who claimed you as a dependent on their tax return.  If you have not received any support from either parent during the past 12 months, use the most recent calendar year for which you received support from a parent.

And remember if you have any questions, please call us at 781.681.9411 and we can help you walk through your situation BEFORE you complete the financial aid forms.

Today families are paying two prices for their childs college education…One price is for Informed parents (which are our clients) and one for Un-Informed parents who have not taken the time to educated themselves on the college planning process…Which price are you looking to pay?


Discover how College Planning Solutions® can help guide your family through the complex college planning process through an array of services by scheduling an appointment today. Call (781) 681-9411 or click the link below to email us.