Divorce and planning for college

On behalf of Lake Toback Attorneys

Parents of college-bound children in Illinois and elsewhere who want to apply for college financial aid must first file a standardized application form (FAFSA) that requires disclosure of certain financial information. There are different rules, however, for divorced parents, some of which involve child custody arrangements.

The financial aid information is based on the income of the parent with whom the child has lived for most of the year. For purposes of the application, who has claimed the child as a federal tax exemption is irrelevant, as is payment of child support. However, income of a new spouse will be considered in the event of remarriage. This can help a prospective student obtain a loan, especially if they live with the parent who earns less money. For example, if one parent is a lawyer earning $150,000 annually but the child lives with the parent who is a social worker earning $35,000 per year, the salary of the lawyer won’t be included in the application for financial aid. In rare cases where time was equally distributed between both parents, the parent who spends the most money on the child fills out the paperwork.

When filling out the standardized application, the time period for residency is the twelve months prior to the date that the application is signed. Some private schools use a different form and their rules for financial aid vary depending on the school.

When someone is unsure of how to resolve child custody issues, they might need the help of an attorney. A divorce attorney might be able to help clients resolve questions about child custody.

Source: CBS News, “How does divorce affect college financial aid?“, Lynn O’Shaughnessy, September 27, 2013

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Divorce and planning for college