In Illinois and across the entire country, the cost of both public and private college education is on the rise. It’s also expected to continue this upward trend. Couples that divorce when their children are younger, may not even stop to think about non-immediate issues such as who will pay for their children’s college education. Paying for college can be difficult for parents who are still together, and it can become even more so when parents have split. If your child is nearing college age or already in college, you might be wondering how you will afford their education and how much their other parent should be contributing. Who should be paying for their college education? Turning to an experienced Illinois divorce attorney for sound advice on this topic is the best way to find out.
When it comes to divorced parents paying for their offspring’s college education, Illinois is one of the only states that allows a judge to order such payments if the couple cannot agree on the matter. Although child support legally stops the latter when a child turns 18 or graduates from school, it generally stops by the time a child turns 19, even if they are still attending high school. Illinois college cost law only applies to children over 18 years of age.
However, they are substantial differences between child support and paying for college. Child support is a legal right of the child. College expenses for a child over 18 is a financial matter between the parents and not a legal right. Suppose the divorce decree includes an agreement about how the parents will pay for their children’s college expenses or expressly states that neither parent will be required to contribute to this expense. In that case, the presiding family court is very likely to enforce that agreement when the time comes.
Many couples going through a divorce don’t talk about the issue of paying for college costs during their negotiations. In these instances, a parent who decides to help their child pay for post-secondary education could ask the judge to order the other parent to contribute financially as well. Whether you want to address this matter during your divorce proceedings or want to enforce an earlier agreement, a knowledgeable Illinois divorce lawyer can help.
Current Illinois law usually limits post-high school educational expense obligations once a child reaches the age of 23, earns a bachelor’s degree, or gets married. Additionally, the law provides that any obligation to contribute to these expenses terminates if the child doesn’t keep a cumulative C grade point average unless they have an illness or other valid reasons preventing them from doing so.
Undergraduate and graduate degrees are both costly these days. The ever-growing cost of college can be daunting, especially if you are on a single income or supporting other children. If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, it’s essential to know what you deserve in terms of a settlement and your contribution to your child’s college education. A seasoned Illinois divorce lawyer who is well-versed in Illinois divorce laws can help you understand your options and obligations. Contact the Goodman Law Firm to book your divorce consultation today.
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