Extending Child Support for College Expenses

Extending Child Support for College ExpensesChild support payments in Illinois usually end after a child turns 18 or graduates from high school. However, a family court can order both parents to contribute toward a non-minor child’s post-high education. Paying for your child to attend college can cost tens-of-thousands of dollars each year, and getting your co-parent to help pay for it may be the best way to afford it. The court will not automatically award you child support to pay for college expenses. You must prove that the support payments are necessary, and your child student must meet certain conditions for the payments to continue.

Establishing Support

Child support payments were mandatory when your child was a minor. Now that your child is a legal adult, you have a burden of proof to show why your co-parent should continue making support payments. In reaching its decision, the court will consider:

  • Each parent’s financial resources;
  • How the parents’ divorce affected the child’s standard of living;
  • The child’s academic performance; and
  • The child’s own financial resources.

The court may want you to explore options that could save money on college before it awards support payments. This may include applying for financial aid or attending a more affordable college when given a choice of two schools that offer equal educational opportunities.

Educational Expenses

Child support can pay for more than your child’s college tuition. Other college expenses include:

  • Housing, on- or off-campus;
  • Living expenses when school is not in session;
  • Food, utilities, and transportation if your child is living with you;
  • College application and registration fees;
  • Books and supplies; and
  • Medical expenses.

In Illinois, the tuition and housing that the child support pays for cannot exceed the annual tuition and on-campus housing plan at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which is the state’s most expensive public school.

Duration of Payments

Child support for college expenses typically ends when a student graduates or turns 23. However, the payments may also end if he or she gets married or does not maintain a “C” grade point average. Your co-parent can require access to your child’s academic records to see his or her grades.

Timely Action

You should apply for child support to pay for college expenses well before your child attends college. Your co-parent can prolong the process by contesting your request, and the court’s decision may determine which college your child will be able to attend. A Kane County family law attorney at Geneva Family Lawyers can help you prove your case for continued child support payments. Schedule a free consultation by calling 331-588-6611.



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