I'm wondering how colleges deal with complicated family situations in assessing financial aid.
Case in point, X and I have three children, D1, D2 and D3. D1 is a HS jr. and we are starting the whole college dance. I am divorced from X and remarried to W, who is the mother of Step-D, also a HS jr. W has full custody of Step-D and I support Step-D because her father is a deadbeat dad. X is remarried to H2 and they have a new baby, S. D1, D2, and D3 live with me full time since X moved away to another city, although our official custody order is 50/50. I make a good living as a self-employed prof'l. W works part-time, but I make 20x her income. But we have no assets due to my very expensive and ugly divorce from X and because we live in one of the most expensive places in the country. X and H2 are both unemployed and have no assets. How they survive is a mystery, but I suspect H2's wealthy mother is supporting them.
Got all that? (Wouldn't blame you if you didn't.) When I run the net calculators, my EFC is pretty high due to my income. But I'm not plugging in X's income and assets, which are zero. When it comes to FAFSA and the real deal, will the schools factor in her 0 income and assets? Will they look at H2's 0 income and assets? Will they look at W's income? Will they factor in that I am responsible for paying for Step-D's education because her dad is out of the picture? Will it matter that the D's live with me full time, even though our official custody order is 50/50?
Finally, I'm wondering if there are professional financial aid consultants who help people with complex situations fill out the FAFSA etc. Anybody have any experience with that?