When applying for financial aid, can my ex wife just apply since she claims my older son? She makes about 36,000 which includes the 6000 a yr in child support. He would get most of the Pell Grant by just her applying. I pay her child support ( 6000 yr) for both my older son and younger son. I would still help with my son’s college expenses though.

Also, are we better applying separately to each college ( 4) or just one application for FASFA?

The custodial parent who fills out the fafsa is the one with whom the student lived most in the 12 months preceding the date the fafsa is submitted. Tax claiming has nothing to do with it. One fafsa per school year per student. You can’t submit a separate fafsa to each of 4 schools.

we share 50/50 residential custody.

exactly 50/50? That’s hard to do especially in years with 365 days.


If you want your ex to be the custodial parent, the student could live with her one more day than you.

See http://www.finaid.org/questions/divorce.phtml for the order

1.The parent with whom the child lived the most during the past 12 months (the 12 months ending on the FAFSA application date).
2.The parent who provided more financial support to the child during the past 12 months.
3.The parent who provided the most financial support to the child during the most recent calendar year for which either parent provided more support to the child.
4.The parent who provided more than half the child’s support (and will continue to do so).
5.The parent who has legal custody.
6.The parent who claimed the child as a dependent on their tax return.
7.The parent with the greater income