There are so many loopholes when it comes to the FAFSA. One big one is how a Parents Marital Status relates to financial aid.
Are you divorced?
Are you legally separated?
Are you married but living in separate houses?
Are you recently remarried?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions you need to keep reading, because there is some important information you need to know when it comes to the FAFSA and how much financial aid your student could receive.
If parents are separated, divorced, or live in separate households, only the custodial parent’s financial information is required by FAFSA. We realize that in a lot of cases, both parents contribute equally when it comes to financially supporting a child. We are not trying to downplay that, but since the FAFSA is based upon the “expected” contribution the parents can provide, you do not want to include more finances than you have too. A whole other income can change your expected contribution drastically which will lower that financial aid offer.
So we did mention that you only have to put down finances for the custodial parent, but the custodial parent also has to include their spouse (if there is one) on the FAFSA. If the custodial parent is remarried at the time of FAFSA submission, the FAFSA needs to include finances for both the parent and stepparent. But there are exceptions to this based on how your finances are set up.
We also know there are cases where parents who are recently divorced, legally separated, or living in separate households will file a joint tax return. If this is occurring at the time of FAFSA the custodial parent must report their individual income and taxes paid on the joint return.
We realize that a lot of the time when we mention FAFSA you groan and your brain wants to just shut off. We also know how frustrating it can be to search for the answers to the questions you may have. We also know your school counselors are swamped and aren’t always able to provide all of the help that you may need on the FAFSA.
Luckily you have us to help you out. We know the ins and the outs of how to fill out the FAFSA truthfully while getting you as much benefit as possible. We would love to schedule a chat to take some of the load off of you when it comes to FAFSA.
For more information about what a custodial parent is according to FAFSA, who actually checks the information you put on FAFSA, what to do if you are remarried, filing jointly, and so much more, read our blog article here. Your pocketbook will thank you later.