Filling Out the FAFSA: My Parents are Divorced

If your parents are divorced, list financial information for the parent you've lived with most in the least year.
Anna Helhoski
By Anna Helhoski 
Updated

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When will the new FAFSA be available? The redesigned FAFSA will launch by Dec. 31, 2023 for the 2024-25 academic year — a delay from the typical Oct. 1 release date. You can still submit the 2023-24 FAFSA until June 30, 2024.

The FAFSA treats divorced parents differently than married parents. If you have divorced parents, you should list the financial information for the parent you have lived with most in the past 12 months. This parent is known as your "custodial parent".

If your custodial parent is remarried as of when you submit your FAFSA, include your stepparent’s financial information as well.

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Steps for filling out the FAFSA for students with divorced parents

  1. Determine which parent is your custodial parent. If your parents have joint custody of you, the custodial parent is the parent you have spent the most time living with in the past 12 months or, if you split time evenly, then include the information of the parent that provided the most financial support in the previous 12 months. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the definition of custodial parent will change to the parent that has offered the most financial support.

  2. Fill out the FAFSA with your custodial parent’s information and your stepparent, if you have one.

  3. Include any child support or alimony paid to your custodial parent.

  4. When the FAFSA asks about your parents’ education level, answer for your birth parents or adoptive parents. Your stepparent is not considered your parent for these two questions.

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