If parents of children applying for financial aid for college are divorced, the FAFSA form is filled out by only one parent. Which parent fills out the report is based on two factors:
- which parent has given the most support or
- which patent has had the child living with him/her the most during the last 12 months before the FAFSA is filled out.
All assets of the applying parents must be reported including the income and assets of a step-parent if there has been a remarriage. This is true even if the divorced parent has either a prenuptial or divorce decree that stipulates the other parent is responsible for college payments. Assets also include all child support payments, including support paid to siblings of the college student. Such support is reported as untaxed income.
These rules may mean a parent with whom the child resides and who has remarried may have assets that lead to less financial aid, which can affect the parent who is paying, if that parent is not the one actually filling out the FAFSA application. However, this is federal law and can not be controverted. Knowing these rules up front might prompt different living and support arrangements before your child’s senior year.