Plan For College

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Divorced or Separated: Who Files the FAFSA?

We often get asked who should file the FAFSA when the parents are divorced or separated.

If a student’s parents are divorced or separated and not living together, only the custodial parent's income and assets are used for filing the FAFSA.

The custodial parent is the parent with whom the student lived with the most during the 12 months prior to filing the FAFSA. 

If the parents have joint custody, then count the days and nights. 

Another important factor to consider is cash support. Determine which parent spent the most money on support and expenses on the student’s behalf. This includes food, clothing, housing, car payments, medical care, dental care, and educational expenses.

If parents cannot agree upon who is the custodial parent, the college may decide for you!

Need help establishing who should file the FAFSA? Call (781-828-1114) or email College Planning Group ( for a free consultation.

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