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Financial aid and divorce-the impact on children

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2013 | Family Law |

The emotional impact of divorce on children here in Colorado is what worries most parents who decide to end their marriage. Among the challenges brought up by a divorce that can result from property division and child custody is the eligibility of the children for financial aid, which starts with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

FAFSAs are filled out throughout the country every year by college students seeking financial aid assistance to help finance their education.. The rules for applying for federal financial aid, however, are different when the child’s parents are divorced. Although both parents may want the best education possible for their child, they have to consider the particulars of their divorce agreement. Even though financial aid may not be as obvious a family law concern as, say, child custody, property division or alimony, taking it into account may be necessary.

For the child of divorced parents, qualifying for aid and how best to fill out the FAFSA depends significantly on circumstances. For one thing, the parent who has physical custody of the child is important. The parent that primarily provided for the child’s care should complete the application and include only the income earned in that household. Certain factors – like who claims the child on a tax return – are not important when completing a FAFSA.

.Remarrying can affect eligibility. If a custodial parent remarries, the income and assets of the new spouse must be included on the form. A higher family income may limit the overall eligibility of a child seeking assistance with school.

In Jefferson County and commonly in all divorce proceedings, the well-being of the child is the goal. Many view a college education as in the child’s best interests. Divorce, however, may complicate how to go about securing aid to fund that education. Because of this, having sound legal counsel is well advised to guide families through the process.

Source: CBS News, “How Does Divorce Affect College Financial Aid,” Lynn O’Shaughnessy, Sept. 27, 2013

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