FAFSA: What if my parents are divorced or separated?

When filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), whose information do you use if your parents are divorced or separated?

Through 4-H programs, we teach youth about applying for college scholarships and how to pay for college. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is one financial program that most if not all people that plan to attend college must apply for. There are many questions that come along with completing the FAFSA form, including, “Whose information do I use if my parents are divorced or separated?” This can also lead to other questions. According to Federal Student Aid, how you fill out the FAFSA depends on whether your parents live together or not.

For FAFSA purposes, your married parents are separated if they are considered legally separated by a state or if they are legally married but have chosen to live separate lives, including living in separate households, as though they were not married. When two married persons live as a married couple but are separated by physical distance (or have separate households), they are considered married for FAFSA purposes.

Divorced or separated parents who do not live together

If your parents are divorced or separated and don’t live together, answer the questions about the parent with whom you lived with more during the past 12 months. If you lived the same amount of time with each divorced or separated parent, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months, or during the most recent 12 months that you actually received support from a parent.

Divorced or separated parents who live together

If your divorced parents live together, you’ll indicate their marital status as “Unmarried and both parents living together,” and you will answer questions about both of them on the FAFSA. If your separated parents live together, you’ll indicate their marital status as “Married or remarried” (not “Divorced or separated”), and you will answer questions about both of them on the FAFSA.

Build Your Future, a National 4-H curriculum written by Michigan State University Extension 4-H staff, has a lesson devoted to financing a post-secondary education.

Related Events

Related Articles