While in North Carolina there is no legal obligation to pay support for college, divorced or separated parents’ information is still used for a child’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Here are a few important things to know.

  1. The FAFSA program does have instructions for children with divorced parents.  The instructions state if parents are divorced or separated (and they don’t live together) the questions on the FAFSA should be answered about the parent with whom the child lived more during the past 12 months.  If the child lived the same amount of time with each divorced or separated parent, they are to give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent 12 months that where support was actually received.
  2. The custodial parent for the purpose of financial aid is determined primarily by where the child resides.  Who is providing support generally only matters with a 50/50 custodial arrangement.  One day could make the difference.
  3. Stepparent’s information is required to be submitted if the stepparent is married to the custodial spouse.  Because a stepparent’s information is being used, this also means that stepchildren can be included in the household size on the FAFSA so long as the parent or stepparent is providing more than half of the stepchild’s support.

If you have questions about your children’s college expenses and divorce, contact our family law attorney today.