Parents’ Marital Status

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This is question 59 on the FAFSA.

The response indicates the student’s parents’ marital status as of the date the FAFSA was completed.

“Parent” refers to a biological or adoptive parent or a person determined by the state to be a parent (for example, if the parent is listed on the birth certificate). Grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, widowed stepparents, and aunts and uncles are not considered parents unless they have legally adopted the student.

“Unmarried and both legal parents living together” means that both of the legal parents (biological and/or adoptive) are not married to each other but live in the same household. If the student’s legal parents are divorced but living together, select “Unmarried and both legal parents living together.”

“Married or Remarried” does not mean living together unless the parents' state of legal residence recognizes their relationship as a common law marriage.

If one of the student’s parents are widowed or divorced and has remarried, choose “Married or Remarried” and answer the questions about that parent and the student’s stepparent.

For FAFSA purposes, a married couple is separated if the couple is considered legally separated by a state, or if the couple is legally married but has chosen to live separate lives, including living in separate households, as though they were not married. If the student’s parents are separated but living together, select “Married or Remarried,” not “Divorced or Separated.”

Note: When two married persons live as a married couple but are separated by physical distance (or have separate households), they are considered married for FAFSA purposes.

The table below can be used to determine whose information to provide on the FAFSA based on the parents’ marital status.

Parents’ Marital Status: Provide Information for:
Married Both of the parents
Remarried (after being widowed or divorced) Parent and Stepparent
Never Married The parent the student lived with most during the last 12 months. If the student did not live with one parent more than the other, provide information about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months, or during the most recent year that the student actually received support from a parent.
Divorced or Separated The parent the student lived with most during the last 12 months. If the student did not live with one parent more than the other, provide information about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months, or during the most recent year that the student actually received support from a parent.
Widowed The parent
Unmarried and both legal parents living together Both of the parents

If the student is Dependent, the response cannot be blank.

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