How to Keep a Non-Custodial Parent out of the Financial Aid Process Legally?
October 24, 2011 3:13 AM   Subscribe

One of my 3 kids is applying for early decision to college and I have a financial aid question about having her non-custodial dad be part of the process.

We've already filled out the college board form, but there's a section for the non-custodial parent (her dad). If it matters, we have joint legal custody (but I have just filed to change that to sole custody). He pays the state minimum in child support and has not contributed to our eldest daughter's college at all...he just ignored the bill so I paid it.

The concern I have is that he's already said he will not contribute to college, period, so I don't want any of his income used in calculating possible aid for her.

How do I work with the financial aid office to let them know that we'd like him out of the loop?

Another concern is that knowing him as I do, if we're told that he has to fill out the forms, he won't, and then she's screwed. He's been a hands-off dad for over 6 years, despite living down the road, and hasn't seen his kids in that time.

What's the best, legal way to address this?
posted by kinetic to Education (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I went through this with my kids, but it was a while ago. They saw their father but he didn't pay any child support, and probably would not have signed anything if I'd asked. I sent a letter to that effect to the financial aid offices involved and they were fine with it. Was college tuition mentioned in the divorce and child support agreements?

Just call the financial aid office at the colleges to which your daughter is applying and ask them what you should do.
posted by mareli at 4:28 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

mareli is correct in my experience. But be prepared to provide letters of documentation from teachers, social workers, clergy, etc. Hang in there!
posted by skbw at 5:49 AM on October 24, 2011

I'm not sure if you're talking about the FAFSA or the school's own financial aid forms, but I am a child of divorced parents where my father pays child support to my mother. I only used my mother's income information on the FAFSA (which includes child support, so in a way the father's contributions are still included) and it was totally fine.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 6:08 AM on October 24, 2011

Your child will use your income and asset figures because you are the one they live with. If you've remarried, your new partner's income data will be used as well. The child support you receive will also be counted. This is a pretty common situation so I wouldn't be concerned about it throwing you for a loop.
posted by Think_Long at 7:03 AM on October 24, 2011

Thanks for the responses; the school she is applying to is asking for the non-custodial parent to fill out an additional form; we sent it to him and he is not responding.
posted by kinetic at 11:49 AM on October 24, 2011

As I understand it, you can request a non custodial waiver at each school. It is up to each school to grant this request or not. The students I know who were successful in getting a waiver were the ones who had absolutely no idea about the whereabouts of their non custodial parent. From the college's perspective, they don't care if parents want to pay, only that they are "able." (Parents "able" but unwilling to pay is a situation that kids with non divorced parents experience too. Ultimately, it's the institution's money, and they can allocate it based on their own criteria).

You can remind your ex that filling out the form does not require him to pay. However, it is up to the family to figure out how to come up with the money.
posted by oceano at 7:40 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not to be a prophet of doom, God forbid, but only from personal experience, I would use the waiting time both to formulate arguments to convince the office and also to find ways to cope if they deny or drastically reduce aid based on his non-submission. Especially you may wish to start preparing your daughter if no aid means a different school. This too shall pass...
posted by skbw at 5:56 AM on October 26, 2011

Quick update: I have a letter from my kid's school saying her dad's never been involved in her education, and I have sole custody of her now (legal as of last week), according to the school, they do not need any information from him now.
posted by kinetic at 1:32 PM on November 13, 2011

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