Divorced Parents and College Expenses in Illinois
In the state of Illinois, child support is an element present in the vast majority of divorce cases involving children. Child support is meant to provide for the basic needs of minor children and is generally no longer enforceable when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes last. These days, children are often dependent on their parents for a few years after they graduate from high school, especially if they attend college. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act addresses this issue and provides guidelines for parents who will help pay for their child’s college education.
Covered College Expenses
The court can require one or both parents to be responsible for paying a share of their child’s educational expenses until the child turns 23, or 25 in some circumstances. The potential expenses include:
- Up to five college application
- Two college entrance exams
- One college entrance exam prep course
- Tuition and fees
- Housing expenses, whether on-campus or off-campus
- Medical expenses, including health insurance and dental expenses
- Reasonable living expenses, including food, utilities, and transportation for a non-resident student
- The cost of textbooks or other supplies necessary for the child to attend school.
The court can order that the funds to cover these expenses be paid directly to the child, to the educational institution, to either of the parents, or through the use of a special account or trust created and designated solely for the use of educational expenses.
Who Is Responsible for Paying?
The law in Illinois recognizes that not all divorced spouses will be able to provide financial assistance for their children’s college expenses. This is why the court can require both parents and the child to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and apply for financial aid directly through the school. The court will also determine how much each parent is responsible for providing by considering the following factors:
- The present and future financial resources of each parent
- The standard of living the child would have had if not for the divorce
- The financial resources of the child
- The child’s academic performance
Contact a DuPage County Child Support Lawyer
Everyone knows college is not cheap. Costs can reach tens of thousands of dollars per year for tuition alone. If you have a child that will be starting college soon, get in touch with a skilled Wheaton, IL family law attorney. At MKFM Law, we can help you make sure your child’s post-secondary educational expenses are covered. Call our office today at 630-665-7300 to schedule a confidential consultation.