Parenting is sometimes talked about as an 18-year obligation, but the truth is that parents often have legal and financial obligations that extend beyond a child’s 18th birthday, such as college tuition and other related expenses. And that financial responsibility doesn’t end if the child’s parents choose to end their relationship. If you’re caught in a debate with a former spouse or partner involving college expenses and divorce in Downers Grove, our skilled family law attorneys are here to help.
According to Illinois law, one or both parents may be ordered to assist in paying a child’s college-related expenses until that child reaches age 23, or 25 in some limited circumstances. In addition to covering tuition and other expenses such as housing and meal plans, a parent may be obligated to contribute to or pay for the cost of:
The amount a parent is ordered to pay is not to exceed the cost of attending a state university (specifically the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign).
Unlike child support obligations, there is no standardized formula for determining each parent’s share of college costs. Family court judges are required to start by examining any existing agreements, such as a marriage settlement or parenting plan, that may address college expenses. If no such agreement or court order exists, they will consider the financial needs and resources of each parent, taking into account both parents’ incomes and the belief that both parents should be financially responsible for their children.
A judge will also take into account the non-minor child’s ability to assist in paying for college and their academic performance. In some cases, the obligation can be split between all three parties, such as each parent being required to cover 40% of the costs while the remaining 20% is paid by the student. Applying for student financial aid through the federal government is usually required, and loans may be used to cover the child or parent’s portion of the cost.
Because there is no statewide standard for how college expenses should be divided between divorced parents or parents who were never married, these orders can vary from case to case. If there are other factors you believe should be considered in your specific set of circumstances, be sure to check with your attorneys in Downers Grove.
Paying for a child’s education is often expensive, and that can make it a highly contentious issue between two parents who are not living together. It can also be confusing and overwhelming for everyone involved. Having the expertise and support of experienced family law and divorce lawyers can make this experience much less stressful for you. Contact Goodman Law Firm today to receive your initial case consultation with experienced and compassionate attorneys in Downers Grove.
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