The FAFSA forms are supposed to be completed by the custodial parent.You are correct.Here is reference.
ompleting the FAFSA
If your parents are separated or divorced, the custodial parent isresponsible for filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The custodial parent for federal student aid purposes is theparent with whom you lived the most during the past 12 months. (Thetwelve month period is the twelve month period ending on the FAFSAapplication date, not the previous calendar year.) Notethat this is not necessarily the same as the parent who has legalcustody. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, theparent who provided you with the most financial support during thepast twelve months should fillout the FAFSA. This is probably the parent who claimed you as adependent on their tax return. If you have not received any supportfrom either parent during the past 12 months, use the most recentcalendar year for which you received some support from a parent. These rules are based on section 475(f)(1) of the Higher Education Actof 1965 (20 USC 1087oo(f)(1)).
Biological parents who never married are treated the same as parentswho are divorced.
Note, however, that any child support and/or alimony received from the non-custodial parent must be included on the FAFSA.
Please note that the discussion given above applies even if theparents each have equal 50% custody. The term "custodial parent" isnot synonymous with custody. Usually the parent with whom the studentlived the most during the past 12 months is sufficient, since thereare an odd number of days in the year. However, in some cases atie-breaker is needed, such as when the divorce was recent or whenthere are an even number of days in the year (e.g., a leap year). Insuch circumstances it is based on whichever parent provided moresupport. If that is not definitive, then the financial aidadministrator at the college will make the decision, and this willusually be based on whichever parent has the greater income. (Somecolleges will follow the logic in a multiple support agreement, butthey are under no obligation to do so.)
Financial aid applications can be somewhat confusing because there are several different criteria applied for different kinds of parenthood:
- The parent with whom the child lived the most during the past 12months (the 12 months ending on the FAFSA application date).
- The parent who provided more financial support to the child during the past 12 months.
- The parent who provided the most financial support to the childduring the most recent calendar year for which either parent providedmore support to the child.
- The parent who provided more than half the child's support (and will continue to do so).
- The parent who has legal custody.
- The parent who claimed the child as a dependent on their tax return.
- The parent with the greater income.
As noted above, criteria 1, 2 and 3 are used for determining thecustodial parent, with the first criteria being primary. In a situation where the parents split all costs equally (without even apenny difference), criterion number7 is often used.
For determining household size (the number of family members),criteria 4 is the most important. However, thestudent's custodial parent gets to list him or hereven if the custodial parent does not provide morethan half of the student's support. This leads to theanomalous situation where a student can be counted asbelonging to two different households. For example,suppose the non-custodial parent remarries and hascollege-aged children of his own. If the non-custodialparent provides more than half of the student'ssupport, the non-custodial parent gets to list the student as a member ofthe non-custodial parent's household even though the custodial parent hasalso listed the student as a member of the custodial parent's household. (The IRS tax return instructions preventthis kind of double dipping on tax returns, but theFAFSA instructions apparently don't.)
Criteria 4 is also used to determine whether the student has one ormore dependents, in the rules for specifying whether the student is anindependent student with dependents.
Criteria 5 and 6 are not used in the financial aid formulas, but aresometimes used to give an indication of the right choice when theother criteria are insufficient. Criteria 6 is also sometimes used tosubstantiate claims made under criteria 4. For example, a financialaid administrator may ask a parent for a copy of their tax return, tosee whether they claimed the child as a dependent. Criteria 6 usuallyimplies criteria 4, because the IRS definition of a dependent includesa 50% support test. There IRS definition includes a few exceptionswhere the parent isn't required to provide more than half the child'ssupport in order to claim the child as a dependent, but in almostevery case, if the parent could not claim the child as a dependent(criteria 6), they did not provide more than half the child's support(criteria 4).
Yes the ex wife should be filing this out.
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