The expenses related to rearing children are complex as it is — and not always easy to cover in today’s economy. If you are going through a divorce or are recently divorced, these issues can be even more difficult to deal with, and paying for college is one of the expenses that can become confusing after the end of a marriage. Here are a couple of tips for dealing with college tuition following divorce.
First, take your time and do your research — as a family unit if possible. This is one time when it pays to work together, even if you aren’t married anymore. Make sure you understand how divorce impacts the completion of financial aid, such as the FAFSA form. Often, college financial aid offices can provide some guidance on filling out forms correctly for a variety of situations.
Second, if you are in the middle of a divorce, then you’ll have to walk a fine line between cooperating on financial information for the sake of your college-aged child and oversharing in a way that might harm your stance in a divorce. When financial aid paperwork comes up during a divorce, consult with your attorney on how best to proceed and provide the necessary information so you can support your child in his or her education.
Finally, consider the financial aid policies of the potential university, especially if you think you might need to apply based solely on custodial parent involvement. Some universities will accept only custodial parent income information for financial aid decisions.
College expenses are only one aspect of a divorce if you have children of such an age. Working with a lawyer can help you protect yourself and your children as you go through the divorce process.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, “4 Tips for Families Navigating College Financial Aid Amid Divorce,” Anna Bahney, Jan. 21, 2016