Divorce can affect college application process

The dissolution of a marriage in Massachusetts can understandably be emotionally and financially tough to navigate. This is true for any parent going through divorce, but it is also the case for any children experiencing it. A particular area that may be impacted by divorce is the eligibility of a child for financial aid.

The challenge that many divorced families face is that various colleges and universities approach divorced parents’ assets and incomes differently when it comes to addressing financial aid. For instance, some colleges will consider the assets and income of the parent who has custody of the college-bound child but not that of the non-custodial parent. Meanwhile, other colleges consider both parents’ assets and incomes.

Because increased income and assets will boost a family’s expected family contribution, it is critical for parents to plan ahead prior to applying to colleges. Some colleges require a college-bound student to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), in which case, only the custodial parent’s asset and income information should be included. This will make the child eligible for more financial aid based on need if the parent who has custody of him or her has the lower income between the two parents.

Divorce is complicated no matter what stage of life the divorcing individuals may be in. However, having a child who is getting ready to head to college can make the divorce process that much trickier. An attorney can provide the guidance needed to make informed financial decisions during the dissolution of a marriage in Massachusetts.