Even though your teen is almost through high school and makes most of his own decisions by this time, you and your spouse still have to discuss custody arrangements during your Florida divorce. For the next year or so, your child will probably live primarily with one of you, and the other parent will probably pay child support. While you may want to be the custodial parent, it could put his college plans in jeopardy.
Unless you have enough money put back in college savings plans already, you and your spouse may be counting on federal financial aid to help pay for your child’s tuition, books and other expenses. According to USA Today, income tax information must be included on the application, and the lower the income, the more financial aid your child may qualify for. Do you make more than the other parent? If so, having primary custody could reduce the amount of assistance your child receives.
Fortunately, the custody agreement does not have to be significantly weighted toward one parent or the other. So, even if your child’s main residence is with the other parent, the three of you can create your own schedule regarding how you will split your time together.
If your teen is already in the middle of his senior year and you and your spouse plan to file taxes jointly one last time, the post-divorce income disparity will not show up on the forms. This probably does not change your child’s eligibility for more financial aid, but you and the other parent will have to provide additional information to show evidence of the new situation.
Because circumstances in every family are unique, this general information should not be interpreted as legal advice.