Who Pays for Our Child’s College Expenses Under Illinois Law?
As children grow, their financial needs tend to increase. College tuition is no exception. In today’s world, student loan debts are staggering for new graduates, and many families struggle to financially help their children to go to college. When parents are divorced, the situation can be even trickier, especially when parents do not see eye to eye on the subject.
However, recent revisions to Illinois law have clarified the guidelines for educational support orders, allowing parents to better understand their future potential obligations.
Limits on Payment of College Expenses
As a general rule, a Court can order a parent to pay for a child’s college expenses only if the expenses are incurred prior to the child turning 23. For good cause shown, however, a Court can extend this limitation to the child’s 25th birthday. Additionally, for a student attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Court may not order a parent to pay college expenses that exceed the cost of tuition, room and board, and any other regular fees.
Factors to Consider in Awarding College Expenses
When determining whether a college expenses order is appropriate in a certain case, Courts can consider each parent’s current and future resources, including retirement accounts and each parent's ability to meet his or her own financial needs. Likewise, the Court can consider the standard of living that the child would have enjoyed if the parents had remained married, the financial resources of the child and the child’s academic performance.
Modifying or Terminating Payment of College Expenses
In certain situations, a Court order for a parent to pay a child’s college expenses may terminate or change prior to the child reaching the age of 23. The Court has the authority to terminate a parent’s obligation to pay for college if the child marries, obtains a baccalaureate degree or fails to maintain a cumulative “C” grade point average. However, there are exceptions to the grade point average requirement in the event of illness or another good cause.
The newly revised statute also contains factors that do not affect the authority of the Court to order a parent to pay college expenses. More specifically, the Court cannot consider a child’s pregnancy, incarceration or enlistment in the military in making its decision.
Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., Today
Passionate Palatine divorce attorney Nicholas W. Richardson is available to assist you through your divorce proceedings from beginning to end. Whether your case involves college expenses, child support, allocation of parental responsibilities or other issues, Attorney Richardson is dedicated to resolving your divorce case in a just, efficient and successful manner. He remains up-to-date on the newest changes to Illinois laws concerning college expenses and divorce so that he can provide you with the high-quality, experienced legal representation that you need. Contact his office today. Call 847.873.6741.