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Professional Judgment
 
Stepparent Finances

The Higher Education Act clearly indicates that if the custodial parent has remarried, the stepparent's income must be included in available income. (Curiously, the act does not mention the assets of the stepparent.)

It is therefore inappropriate to exclude the stepparent's income from consideration. Prenuptial agreements are an agreement between husband and wife and cannot be binding on third party, such as the Federal government.

If the stepparent is paying child support for children from a prior marriage, it would be worth considering whether he or she is providing more than half their support. If so, the children may be included in household size. If not, the amount of child support is reported on Worksheet C, reducing available income.

The stepparent's income information for the entire base year must be reported, even if the marriage occurred after the base year.

 

 
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