Deceased, Separated, Divorced, Re-married, Same Sex, Common-Law Marriage Parents Questions & Answers
Separated or Divorced
My parents are separated but it is not a legal separation, do I report their marital status as separated or married on the FAFSA?
Separated, it does not have to be a legal separation.
My parents are separated because my dad (or mom) works in another country so they are separated by distance but they are still in a married relationship, do I report them as married or separated?
Married, report both incomes. Foreign income must be reported. Even if only the parent still living in the U.S. files a U.S. tax return, convert the foreign income into U.S. dollars of the parent working outside the U.S. If neither parent files a U.S. tax return, convert the foreign income earned from work into U.S. dollars and report it on the FAFSA line that asks for income earned from work, not adjusted gross income or the untaxed income worksheets.
My parents are separated (or divorced), how do I fill out the FAFSA?
The FAFSA must be filed based on the parent you lived with most the last 12 months regardless of who claimed you on their tax return. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, base it on the parent who provided the most financial support to you.
My parents are separated (or divorced) but filed a joint tax return, do I report both incomes as reported on their tax return?
No, you must separate the income and base the FAFSA on the information of the parent you lived with the most the last 12 months. You should ask a Financial Aid Counselor to help you do this because you will need to separate the income and taxes paid.
What do I do if my parents became separated/divorced after I already filed the FAFSA?
Let the Office of Financial Aid Office so we can help you make the changes. We will send you a "Request for Re-evaluation" form to complete and submit with the appropriate documentation.
My biological parents are divorced, I live with my mother who is re- married, how do I fill out the FAFSA?
You must base the FAFSA on the parent you lived with the most the last 12 months, so if that parent is re- married, your step- parent’s information must be included as if they are your parent. Report any child support received from your biological parent where it asks for it.
My step- parent is not responsible for supporting me or having anything to do with my college education, why do I have to report his/her information?
Because it is a Federal rule, there are no exceptions even if there is a prenuptial agreement, it does not exempt the step- parent from providing information required of a parent for financial aid purposes.
My parent is re- married as of the day I am filing the FAFSA but they weren’t married when they filed their tax returns, therefore they filed separate tax returns. How do I file the FAFSA?
Add the income from both tax returns together and report it as well as both asset information. On the question that asks what kind of tax return was filed, if they both filed a 1040, answer 1040. If one filed a 1040 and the other filed a 1040A or 1040EZ, answer 1040A or 1040EZ.
Common Law Marriage
How does the FAFSA treat common law marriages?
If your parents meet the criteria in their state for a common law marriage, their status should be reported as married and both incomes and assets reported. If not recognized by the state, report as single and base the FAFSA on the parent who provided the most financial support to you. Report other support received for you as child support and support received from your other parent on the untaxed income worksheet B.
Same Sex Marriage
How does the FAFSA treat same sex marriages?
Since federal law does not recognize same sex marriage and the FAFSA is governed by federal regulations, the marital status should be reported as single or divorced/separated if that status applies from a former federally recognized marriage. If status applies, you must report your custodial parent or the parent who provides the most financial support to you as your parent on the FAFSA. Report other support received for you as child support on the untaxed worksheet B.
One of my parents recently died. Do I have to report his/her income on the FAFSA?
No. If they filed a joint tax return and/or you already filed the FAFSA, contact your Financial Aid Counselor for help in separating the income and making the necessary changes. You will most likely need to submit copies of the income documentation and death certificate to the aid office.
What if my parent died after I already filed the FAFSA?
Ask the Office of Financial Aid for a "Request for Re-evaluation" form and submit the appropriate documentation as listed on the form.