Who Files FAFSA For Divorced Parents? | FAFSA Series Part V
Filling out the FAFSA application is a necessary evil that is not always as straightforward as it should be. One of the most popular questions we get is “Who files FAFSA for divorced parents?”. And while this may seem like a very complicated issue, it really isn’t that bad. So, stop asking for your mom’s, dad’s and step-parent’s tax return documents for your FAFSA application! You won’t need them all.
In a previous article in this series on the FAFSA, we talked about FAFSA Deferred Compensation and how to go about filling that portion of the application out. Here, we’re going to clear things up about who files FAFSA for divorced parents.
Filing FAFSA for Divorced Parents
First off, when applying for Federal Student Aid via FAFSA you will only need to report income and assets from the custodial parent. In other words, whichever parents has primary custody rights and has had that child living with them the most over the past year will have to report their finances on the FAFSA. Easy enough, right?
But, what if your primary, custodial parent has remarried?
The Federal Government will treat this situation a bit differently in that they will want to see not only your custodial parent’s income and assets, but also your stepmother or stepfather’s as well. Since they are remarried, they technically have shared assets so FAFSA wants to see that. Even if there has been a pre-arranged agreement between parents about who pays for college, the noncustodial parent’s income and assets will not need to be reported to the Federal Government.
Private College Aid and Divorced Parents
If one of your college choices is a private college or university, you may want to inquire up front about their policy regarding financial aid and reporting of assets and income. Some private schools will ask to see the finances of both the custodial and noncustodial parent. However, this is not common practice and isn’t going to happen at every private college in the country. Check with your respective college selections to see how they handle their financial aid formula.
Hopefully this information will help you in determining who files FAFSA for divorced parents. If you missed any of our previous articles in this series on FAFSA, make sure you sign up for our email newsletter so you don’t miss another one! Signup HERE!