Q. My ex-husband isn’t required to pay at all for our two kids’ colleges, but he says he wants to give. Is there a way for him to give money without it affecting financial aid?
A. Ah, financial aid.
Even if your ex-husband isn’t required to contribute to the kids’ college education costs, you can’t hide his assets. But, you have some (but not all) luck on your side.
You have an advantage with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
For students with divorced parents who live separately, the FAFSA asks that you fill out financial information about the custodial parent, said James Shagawat, a certified financial planner with Baron Financial Group in Fair Lawn.
He said for FAFSA, the custodial parent is the parent who the child has lived with the most over the last twelve months.
But lots of institutions will assume that your ex-husband may have resources for the kids.
“Many private colleges assume that the non-custodial parent could be a possible source of funding, and therefore require that they fill out a supplemental financial aid document,” Shagawat said. “In that case, any financial support the non-custodial parent may give would only affect financial aid provided by the school, not the student’s federal and/or state aid benefits.”
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