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Handling Financial Aid for Children When Parents Get Divorced

Posted on in Divorce

Warrenville divorce lawyer college financial aidThe majority of freshmen start college in September, and this is when family law attorneys often experience an influx in inquiries about divorce. For couples in a low conflict relationship who are considering divorce, an empty nest may feel like the perfect time to finally go through with separating. However, you should be aware that your marital status and living arrangements can affect how much financial aid your child receives, and you will also want to consider how your divorce will affect them.

What About My Freshman?

Beginning college can be a difficult change for any student. It is the first time they are on their own, even if they may be only a couple hours away from home. Confronting your college freshman with divorce right away may do more harm than good. They might worry more about mom and dad’s relationship than making friends and doing well in a new school environment. While there is no perfect time to announce a divorce to your child, if at all possible, you may want to make sure they have adjusted to their new surroundings first.  

Before your child starts school, and every year after, they can apply for financial aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a series of online forms that will determine how much financial aid your child can receive. These grants or loans can help alleviate the financial stress of attending college for you and your child. 

Divorce can make it more difficult to answer the questions asked on the FAFSA. Your child may need to know the details of your divorce before filling out the forms. The custodial parent will become important, but for these purposes, this does not mean the parent who has legal custody of the child. Rather, it usually refers to the person the child has relied on the most for the last 12 months. Only one parent can be listed on the FAFSA if you and your spouse are divorced or separated and do not live together.

How much financial aid is given to your child is dependent on the numbers and circumstances entered on the FAFSA. Once your divorce is finalized, if you and your spouse have not been separated for six months before finalizing the FAFSA, and you were not already filing taxes as a single person and head of household, this is the time to update your information. Sometimes, more financial aid is provided to students with divorced parents, so it is important to keep your information updated. 

Get in Touch With a Winfield Family Law Attorney

If you have questions about how your divorce will affect your child’s college education, contact a West Chicago divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC. We can help you address the legal and financial issues involved in your divorce and work with you to build a positive future for your family. Set up a free consultation by calling our office at 630-836-6540. 


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