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Divorce may make FAFSA process more complicated

The process of getting divorced can understandably complicate a family's finances, especially when the parents are also in the process of trying to send their children to college. Specifically, it may cause confusion if a student is trying to fill out the FAFSA. Here are some pointers for families trying to simultaneously balance the FAFSA and divorce processes in California.

First of all, the parent who has custody of the child who plans to go to college must complete the FAFSA. This parent is essentially the one with whom the child lives most of the time. If the child spent equal amounts of time with the parents, the parent who provided the greatest amount of monetary support during the past year should fill out the FAFSA.

Also, perhaps divorcing parents may be confused about who can legally claim tax credits related to education. The reality is, just one parent is able to claim the student on his or her taxes. However, this parent can be different from the one who filled out the FAFSA. This is because the FAFSA and Internal Revenue Service rules are not identical.

Figuring out how to deal with divorce and with the financial aspect of college preparation can certainly be overwhelming. Fortunately, an attorney can help divorcing individuals to make informed decisions during divorce that will financially benefit both themselves and their children long term. The attorney will focus on achieving a settlement that protects his or her client's rights and best interests in California.

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O'Brien Family Law, PC 

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