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What Divorced Parents of Teenagers Should Know About College Expenses

 Posted on February 03, 2023 in Divorce

palatine divorce lawyerIf you are a parent of a teenager or pre-teen, you may already be thinking about your child’s future education. College tuition and related costs rise every year in Illinois and throughout the country. However, Illinois is unique in that divorced parents are sometimes court-ordered to contribute to their child’s college education. If you are a divorced parent or soon will be, it is important that you understand Illinois law regarding financial support for college-aged children.

Tuition and College Costs May Be Split Between the Parents

Illinois law states that a court may require unmarried or divorced parents to contribute to college tuition, housing, and other costs. If the parents cannot negotiate an agreement on how much each will contribute to their child’s college education, the court will make a decision for them. Illinois courts consider each parent’s financial circumstances, any scholarships or financial support the child is receiving, the child’s own financial resources, and other factors when deciding how to divide college expenses between the parents. The court may also require the college student to contribute to these expenses.

The amount that an Illinois court can order a parent to pay toward college expenses is capped. Parents will not be required to contribute more than the cost of tuition, housing, and related costs at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. So, if a child wants to attend an expensive out-of-state private school, the parents will not be forced to cover the entire tuition bill for that school. Tuition for the 2023-2024 school year at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is $17572 - $22,836, but this does not include housing, meal plans, textbooks, and other fees. Parents are not required to contribute to their child’s college education past a bachelor’s degree.

The parents’ college-related financial obligations end if the child turns 23 years old, gets married, enlists in the military, or does not keep at least a “C” average. However, financial support may be extended past the student’s 23rd birthday if there is a justification for extending support.

Contact a Palatine Divorce Lawyer

If you are getting divorced and you share a child with your soon-to-be ex, it is important to start planning for your child’s college expenses. You may be able to negotiate an agreement about college expenses during the divorce process, which can save you substantial time and expense later on.

Arlington Heights family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson is highly experienced and equipped to represent parents during divorce, child support disputes, and other family law proceedings. Call our office today at 847.873.6741 and set up a free initial consultation to learn more.


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