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College costs and divorced parents

Spouses in Pennsylvania who have children still in high school or lower grades when they get divorced will want to pay special attention to planning for the cost of college during their divorce. as explained by Student Loan Hero, it is not uncommon for divorce decrees to stipulate financial support for children up to the age of 18. In some cases, a clause may include support through high school graduation, understanding that many children turn 18 during their senior year of high school.

Any support beyond that point may be left up to the discretion of a parent unless the spouses had more detailed terms outlined in their divorce agreement. Doing this is possible but requires foresight on the part of both parents and this may feel very far in the future for parents of very young children compared to parents of kids who are in high school at the time of the divorce.

Regardless of what agreement is or is not made involving paying for children's higher education during a divorce, moms and dads should understand how the financial aid process works as well. U.S. News and World Report notes that students submit the Free Application for Financial Student Aid in order to learn what financial aid they qualify for. This form requires information on the parent identified by FAFSA as the custodial parent.

A FAFSA custodial parent may or may not be the same as the legal custodial parent. For FAFSA, this is the person with whom the student spent the most time in the prior year and who provided the most financial support in that time if the time spent with both parents was the same.

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