Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community polls, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

Divorce and claiming dependents...please help.

wareagleblondewareagleblonde Posts: 52Registered User Junior Member
My ex-husband and I have been divorced for 4 years. He has declared our two daughters as dependents every year since, and can continue to do so per our divorce decree (agreeing to this not the smartest decision on my part in hindsight). Here is the issue, my daughters live full time with me and their step-father. My ex and I have joint custody, but I am the custodial parent. At no time have the girls ever lived with my ex. My eldest daughter is headed to Auburn next fall. Will the fact that her father claims her on his taxes and makes considerably more than we do, affect her financial aid opportunities? Will she have to apply using his tax return information because he claims her? Sorry if this is an uneducated question. I have looked and looked and cannot find the information. Thank you in advance for any help!
Post edited by wareagleblonde on
«134

Replies to: Divorce and claiming dependents...please help.

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Posts: 19,537Registered User Senior Member
    For financial aid that is dependent on the FAFSA, the only thing that matters is that your daughter lives with you more than she does with her dad. The financial information that will need to be reported is that of you and your current husband.

    If she applies to an institution that also requires the CSS Profile and/or its own financial aid forms, your ex-husband may be required to file non-custodial parent paperwork.

    Dependency for the FAFSA and dependency for income taxes are defined differently. Just follow the FAFSA rules with FAFSA, and the IRS and state rules for income taxes, and you will be fine.
  • Iron MaidenIron Maiden Posts: 1,838Registered User Senior Member
    Auburn does not use the CSS form so your ex-husbands info is not reported. Him claiming your D as a dependent for tax purposes is irrelevant for FA.

    What WILL need to be be reported on the 2012-2013 FAFSA is the income and assets for both you and your current husband. The current husband's info is required.
  • wareagleblondewareagleblonde Posts: 52Registered User Junior Member
    Thank you for the information. My ex was originally going to defer his entire GI Bill to DD1, but he has changed his mind. He will now defer half to DD1 and half to DD2, and even though he is more than financially capable, he now thinks that they each need to be responsible and pay for the 2 remaining years of school. That being the case, with my limited savings,they will definitely need to seek help.
  • capcap Posts: 583Registered User Member
    GI Bill - if she isn't in-state for Auburn, it might not cover it all; there is a cap that is equal to the in-state rate.
  • wareagleblondewareagleblonde Posts: 52Registered User Junior Member
    She is in-state thank Heaven.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 63,191Registered User Senior Member
    On FAFSA, you have to use your income/assets and your second husband's income/assets.


    If you and your second husband have a good income, then you probably will not qualify for any/much "free money" aid from Auburn. Auburn doesn't really give much/any "need-based" aid to those who are beyond qualifying for Pell...except for federal student loans.

    It doesn't take much of an income to be beyond Pell Grants.

    If your D doesn't qualify for any scholarships, then expect to be "on the hook" for all costs beyond what the GI bill will pay for. Your D can get a $5500 loan as a frosh.

    he now thinks that they each need to be responsible and pay for the 2 remaining years of school

    Does your ex-husband have any idea of how much Auburn costs for instate students? It's about $22k per year. Where does he think his Ds will get that money?

    Also...will your ex STILL get to claim your older D once she is no longer a minor and he's not paying one red cent for her? Does the agreement to claim your older D on his taxes END when he's no longer providing any support?

    Does anyone know how colleges view GI Bill support? Does that get applied towards "determined need"???
  • capcap Posts: 583Registered User Member
    Does anyone know how colleges view GI Bill support? Does that get applied towards "determined need"??? >>

    In this case, being in-state, the DD would have all tuition and fees covered, get $1000 per year for books and get a monthly housing allowance. Need should be minimal - transportation, incidentals.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 37,580Registered User Senior Member
    I am not a tax expert, but if the ex is NOT providing any financial support to the daughter, I fail to see how he could continue to claim her on his taxes.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 63,191Registered User Senior Member
    ^^^

    Yes, that is the point I was trying to make. Once the older D is no longer getting the GI bill, and is over-age for child support, if the dad isn't paying anything for her, then the mom should be able to claim her.

    I don't think a divorce can say that a certain parent can continue to claim a major-age child IF that parent is no longer supporting the adult-college-aged child.

    In Alabama, a child is a minor til age 19. If the dad is paying support til the D is 19, then it sounds like he can claim her. But, once she's 19, if the dad is no longer paying anything, I don't see how he can claim her.


    I'm not even sure if giving the D the GI Bill counts as "support"....does it?
  • vballmomvballmom Posts: 3,132Super Moderator Senior Member
    Divorce agreements stipulate who can claim the child on taxes all the time. It has nothing to do with support. Everything's negotiable, and to be able to file as head of household by having a dependent to claim can be a very valuable "asset" that is commonly part of an overall settlement agreement. It's irrelevant for FAFSA, as has been pointed out.
  • wareagleblondewareagleblonde Posts: 52Registered User Junior Member
    I will try to address each point:

    My husband and I do not have a large income. He is employed, and I am a SAHM to our almost 2 year old although I would like to be employed outside the home. I receive what I think most people would think of as a large sum for child support which my ex now thinks I need to "save" to pay for college for our daughters. I certainly wish I had not agreed to allow him to claim them as dependents. He is a Colonel (pilot) in the AF and does much better financially than we do.

    He is aware of the cost, and states that he went to USAFA so his parents wouldn't be burdened with his college expenses. He also knows the struggles I went through as a child of divorced parents where one could "afford" college but refused to help leaving me with huge amounts of debt.

    I have asked to be able to claim both of our girls. I also have a sophomore in HS. I am waiting his response. It may an issue for our attorneys to rehash which could be touchy since my ex is currently deployed.

    But, I am thankful for the information relating to FAFSA. Thanks everyone!
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 63,191Registered User Senior Member
    My husband and I do not have a large income. He is employed, and I am a SAHM to our almost 2 year old although I would like to be employed outside the home


    Many people do not have a large income, yet they still do NOT qualify for "free aid." Once you're beyond Pell qualifying, Auburn is not likely going to give you any free aid. I live in Alabama; this is something I'm very familiar with.

    You mention that you receive a large amount of child support for your Ds. That's probably why it was decided that your ex could take the deduction since he's providing more than 50% of their support. However, once he stops paying for D1, he shouldn't still be able to claim her.

    Since child support will end eventually, it may be wise to have your Ds work part-time now and full time in the summer, to earn as much as they can, so that you can save some of the child support for their future college costs.
  • wareagleblondewareagleblonde Posts: 52Registered User Junior Member
    The child support amount actually had nothing to with him having the ability to claim them. Unfortunately, it was an agreement we came up with and was written into our divorce decree. I felt pressure to agree to that and to decline rehabilitative alimony (I filed in GA where we were living at the time). And he is certainly not providing more than 50% of their support. All that aside, I just wasn't sure how this all affected the FAFSA. Everyone here has been super helpful.

    My eldest daughter currently has a part time job. My other teenager will be 16 in January and will be looking for a p/t job then.

    And mom2collegekids, I would love to pick your brain :)
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 63,191Registered User Senior Member
    ^^

    Well, how long can he claim your older D? There must be some limit. After all, at some point she'll be "on her own". When she's 23, graduated and working, he can't still be claiming her - so there must be some point that he can no longer claim her. It would seem that once he stops paying D1's child support that he can't continue to claim her. Since the divorce was in Georgia, does that mean support for D1 ends at her high school graduation or at 18 - whichever comes last?

    I wrongly thought that your ex was paying more than 50% of her support because you said that he pays a large sum of child support. I was thinking that he pays about $1600 a month for the 2 girls ($800 each), and since you said that your current H's salary isn't high, that you're not spending over $3k per month on your two D's. I realize that the term "large sum of child support" is relative and what I think is a "large sum" and what most others might think may be two different things. :)
  • annoyingdadannoyingdad Posts: 2,215Registered User Senior Member
    Mom2,

    IRS Pub 501 has the dependency rules. Full time students under age 24 can be claimed as dependents if they don't provide more than 50% of their own support. There are special rules in the case of divorced parents. It doesn't matter which parent is providing the majority of the support or who the student lives with if there is a legal provision in the divorce papers as to who can claim the child as a dependent.
«134
Sign In or Register to comment.