Addressing college costs and FAFSA issues in divorce mediation

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Divorce

Both financial matters and custody issues can cause conflict during a divorce. In some families, it becomes impossible for the spouses to work together. They litigate disagreements in family court. A judge interprets state law after learning about the family’s circumstances to reach the most appropriate rulings on matters related to the children in the family and property division matters.

Many couples prefer to avoid litigation if at all possible. Mediation can be a way to resolve practical disagreements about divorce terms. Parents can potentially address both custody issues and financial matters that pertain to their shared children.

There are numerous financial considerations for parents who have children when they divorce. Tax credits for annual income returns are one common issue. Covering the costs of college can be another. Some families go to mediation to sort out the disputes they have yet to settle. Parents of teens and young adults may need to discuss several issues related to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during divorce mediation.

What FAFSA matters should parents plan to discuss?

Parents have many financial matters related to college to discuss in mediation. For example, they could reach an agreement about how they intend to share the child’s college costs. Each parent may agree to accept a certain degree of financial responsibility or to contribute a set amount toward a student’s costs.

They also need to address certain matters that can affect a student’s eligibility for financial aid when they fill out the FAFSA form. Technically, the government requires information about the income of both parents when a student applies for financial aid. However, parents need to decide which parent generally contributes more to the upkeep of the child.

This parent is the “parent of record” on FAFSA paperwork. Clarifying that ahead of time can prevent last-minute fights that delay document completion. Discussions about remarriage are also important. In some cases, the income of a new spouse may affect what the child is eligible to receive. Parents may need to make strategic plans about future changes to prevent causing additional financial complications for their children. Finally, parents have to agree to work together and complete the FAFSA in a timely manner when it is necessary.

Having a clear list of priorities for major financial matters when sitting down to mediate can help divorcing spouses achieve the best possible outcome on their own behalf and behalf of their children.



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