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Considerations in securing financial aid during divorce

If you have ever gone through an Illinois divorce, you know that separating from your spouse involves big changes in many areas of your life. While you may not have to give it the same immediate attention you would, say, finding a new residence, it is important to understand how your divorce may affect your child’s ability to secure financial aid for college. At Fawell & Fawell, we have helped countless clients navigate through separations and divorces, and we have a firm understanding of the various areas in which doing so may impact your life.

When it comes to working your way through the financial aid process after divorce, be honest and upfront about income, but only share what is required of you. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, for example, looks closely at the income of the “custodial parent,” which, in this instance, refers to the parent with whom your child lived with the most within the last 365-day period.  

If you are considered the custodial parent and you remarry, know that your new spouse’s income will also be taken into account in most cases to determine how much financial aid your child is ultimately offered. If you are the noncustodial parent, your income will typically not need to be included, although any child support you pay to the custodial parent generally does.

The reporting guidelines for parental incomes vary by school, and while the FAFSA is widely accepted, some schools, including many private ones, do have different guidelines and often also consider the income of your child’s noncustodial parent. Check with each school of interest for specific financial guidelines, and should you need additional assistance navigating through a divorce, take a look at our web page. 

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