Navigating FAFSA While Going Through the Divorce Process

Navigating FAFSA While Going Through the Divorce Process

Going through a divorce isn’t easy on a family, but when you pair that with one of the kids getting ready to go off to college, it can get a lot more difficult and confusing. Most issues concerning divorce and college are financial. Who is paying for which expenses?

What is FAFSA?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s a program that helps families pay for college expenses. The program can be very beneficial, but there is a lot of information that needs to be provided in order for them to make an estimation as to what financial package your family can receive.

Financial Questions

One of the things you will be asked is who the student received a majority of their financial support from over the course of the last year. It’s important to remember that the student must report the income of their custodial parent. If the custodial parent makes less money than the non-custodial parent, it could be to your advantage in terms of what financial package is offered.

Living Arrangements

The situation gets even more complicated when you have to consider how long the parents lived in the same house together. If they live in the same home regardless of marital status, both of their incomes need to be reported. If the custodial parent got remarried, the step-parent’s income needs to be reported in place of the non-custodial parent.

You don’t need to report the income of every adult in your life. Your financial aid package could be larger if you don’t overreport income. For example, reporting alimony as income is required, but child support payments are untaxed and fall under a different category. If you report it twice, it could lower your financial aid package. Of course, the income you do report must be factual and accurate to avoid being accused of fraud.

Planning for the Future

If your family is in a situation where college and divorce are topics of discussion, visit Lake Harriet Law Office in the Linden Hills neighborhood. Our experienced staff can help ease the transition and get down in writing who is responsible for which expenses.

Please call 612-750-4843 or complete the Contact Us form to schedule an office consultation.

Randall A. Smith –  Managing Attorney         612-750-4843

Jessica Dulz –           Lead Student Attorney   612-223-8925

Aubry Fritsch –        Student Attorney             612-223-8925

Taylor Blatchford-  Law Clerk                          612-223-8925