If My Parents Are Divorced or Separated, Who Fills Out the FAFSA Form?

One very common question related to the FAFSA is which parent fills out the form and supplies their financial information if the parents of the student are separated or divorced. The rule is that the parent with whom the child spends the most time is the parent who completes the FAFSA form.

What If the Parents Are Not Legally Separated or Divorced Yet?

When determining who completes the FAFSA, it is important to note that you do not have to be legally separated or actually divorced for only one parent to complete the form. To trigger the one parent per form rule, the parents only have to be physically separated and living in 2 separate residences.

Which Parent Completes the FAFSA Form If there is Joint Custody?

There are times where the parents share joint custody of the child, i.e., where the student truly spends 50 percent of the time with one parent and then 50 percent of the time with the other parent. In this case, either parent can complete the FAFSA form. Ideally, you would want to select the parent with the lower annual income and the lower dollar amount of non-retirement investments. This is because it is a heavily income-driven calculation and non-retirement assets (Excluding your primary home) are considered as well. Certainly, there are other things to consider as well, but that is the parent you would probably want to choose to complete the FAFSA form if you have a separated or divorced situation.

We help students and families through the entire college planning journey – from search, applications and essays to interview prep.

Contact us at info@signaturecollegecounseling.com or by phone, 845.551.6946. We work with students through Zoom, over the phone, and by email.