The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) uses the information your child provides regarding your financial situation to determine your child’s financial aid eligibility. For parents that are married or reside together, FAFSA takes into account both parents incomes and assets. If parents are divorced and live apart, only the custodial parent is considered for FAFSA purposes. It follows that when making decisions regarding custody for a child nearing college age, parents may want to consider having a teen reside primarily with the lower income earner to maximize federal financial aid. Alternatively, parents may modify an existing order to reflect a new parenting arrangement in the year prior to starting 12th grade.
Parenting Time and the FAFSA
Not too long ago in Illinois, the terms physical child custody and legal child custody were replaced by parenting time and parental responsibility. When trying to determine who the “custodial parent” is for financial aid purposes, the custodial parent would be the one that the child lived with the most during the past 12 months. If the amount of time spent with each parent is equal during the 12 months preceding the date of the FAFSA application, or if the divorce was recent, usually the custodial parent would be the parent who gave the child the most financial support. In cases where the “custodial parent” cannot be determined or the decision is close, the college financial aid director will make the final determination, typically based on the higher earning parent who, more often than not, claims the child on their tax return.
Contact Our Illinois Family Law Attorneys for Answers
If you have questions regarding Illinois parenting time or responsibility or questions regarding child support to include college tuition, contact the Libertyville family law attorneys of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for help at 847-680-4970.