Looking into strategic divorce

Destined to divorce by Tatum Bardash

Getting a divorce and applying for student aid didn’t seem to have any correlation until now. Families across the country are now working the system by getting a divorce in order to receive more financial support from FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

When students go off to college, money is a big factor in their decision of which college they choose to go to. Families manipulating their marriage status causes unfair advantages over students who actually need the money to commit to attend a university.

According to Nitro College, “There are a few ways to use divorced, separated or unmarried parental marital status to your financial aid advantage. One is by ensuring that your custodial parent is the one who makes less money. By living with the parent who earns less, you EFC will be lower, and your aid package will be higher.”

By choosing only one parent who has their income reported, a student can hide the information about their other legal parent’s income. In doing so, those students with married parents that make the same amount could have a disadvantage. Students with ‘divorced’ parents would likely receive more financial aid just because they aren’t obligated to report their second parent’s income.

With the cost of attending college continuing to rise, it’s only becoming more and more necessary to help those who are less fortunate to get the chance to advance their education. If families that get a divorce just for a greater amount of financial aid are taking away part of the government’s funding, then less money will go to those in need.

“Specific to only need-based programs, more than $6.1 billion in state aid expenditures were awarded based on need in 2003, while more than $8.8 billion were in 2015. However, the share of state-funded dollars awarded based on need remains relatively stable - only fluctuating by about 4 percentage points,” according to the Education Commission of the States.

This increased amount of state funding that goes towards need-based financial aid will only continue to increase as the number of couples getting divorced for financial aid reasons increases. By cheating the system, these students would ultimately be increasing the amount of money that each state needs to collect and decreasing the amount less fortunate families receive.

Another major issue with divorcing for the sake of financial aid is that the once married couple may feel as if its relationship isn’t as important as the money. By getting a divorce in an attempt to get more money from the government, the values of the couple are put in question.

When a couple decides to get married, they make a commitment to each other and devote their time and effort into maintaining their relationship. If a couple decides to divorce as a way to receive more financial aid for their student, this loyal commitment is broken, and the morals of the relationship are put in question.

In conclusion, it’s highly unfair to other students applying for financial aid when certain students’ parents are working the system. Getting a divorce is not only inconsiderate to the people married to each other, but also other students who need financial aid and will receive less money because of others’ actions.

Divorce means dollars by Maggie Van Fleet

In the popular television show “How I Met Your Mother”, main characters Lily and Marshall contemplated getting an “on paper” divorce for financial reasons. The two indubitably loved each other and would stay together; however, they would also receive some of the many benefits from legally divorcing.

Legally getting a divorce with one’s spouse is a strategic move for numerous reasons. The choice to do so could lead to a world of benefits.

Although divorce can have a tremendous impact on the kids, it could also leave them with financial aid that helps pay for their higher education. Students are more eligible for certain scholarships and can qualify for more federal student aid or loans for college simply by having divorced parents.

According to Modern Law, students can receive money through FAFSA- the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The organization only asks for the custodial parent to provide the family’s financial information, which can help boost potential funding.

Adults with high school students could give their children financial leverage by divorcing, however continue to hold the family together. A divorce on paper is as meaningful as a marriage, yet benefits one’s family in more ways than one.

Going through with a divorce can lift an exorbitant amount of stress put on a family, rather than legally staying together and jumping over financial obstacles while putting your children through the hardships as well.

Strategically divorcing can help families save much more money on their taxes than they would if they were legallytogether.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act put into effect in 2018 financially penalizes couples who are legally married, known as the marriage penalty. According to CNBC, there is a higher tax liability for taxpayers with taxable income in the 37 percent tax bracket.

For illustration: two individuals who each have income of $500,000 would pay the second-highest rate, 35 percent, on their income if they filed as single taxpayers.

However, as a married couple with combined income of $1 million, they would pay 37 percent on $400,000 (the difference between their income and the $600,000 threshold for the highest rate). That would mean paying $8,000 more in income taxes.

When struggling with money overall, divorcing one’s spouse also allows for one to withdrawal money from a retirement account a lot sooner than withdrawal rules allow if someone is married.

Usually, when married people take out of retirement accounts, they are charged a 10 percent fee for doing so at a younger age. According to U.S. News, this money is exempt from the usual 10 percent penalty against those younger than 59 ½ years old. Divorce is the only exception to this penalty.

Bad credit could be the preventing couples from purchasing things such as cars, homes and applying for loans.

Divorcing helps people to get the things that they want or need, financially.

Strategically divorcing for financial purposes may be the solution to an endless list of financial problems within a family.


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