Understanding Child Support and College Expenses

IL divorce lawyerAfter a couple with children gets a divorce, one parent is often ordered to pay the other child support. Typically, a child support order remains in effect until the child is no longer considered a minor, but when a child attends college or university, that could change. Paying college expenses differs slightly from standard child support, and it is important that all parents understand what child support may entail if their child pursues post-secondary education.

Contributions to College Expenses for a Child

In 2016, the Illinois legislature passed a law that gave the courts the authority to order the parents of a child to pay for a child’s education expenses until the child turns 25 years old. Most orders of this type will expire when the child turns 23 years old, but parents have the right to request payments for an additional two years.

 While Illinois courts use a specific formula to determine the amount of child support a parent must pay prior to the child’s 18th birthday, the same is not true of support paid to contribute to college expenses. When determining the amount of support a parent must pay for post-secondary education, the court will consider the financial resources each of the parents will have in the future and use that to determine how much each parent will be required to pay.

Expenses Child Support for College May Cover

The law in Illinois allows a court to order support for a number of college and university expenses including:

  • Up to five applications for college
  • Two standardized college entrance exams
  • One preparation course for college exams
  • Tuition, textbooks, and school supplies
  • Housing and meal plans
  • Medical costs
  • Utilities and transportation

It is important to note that a court order may not only apply if a child goes to college, but also professional school and vocational training.

Terminating Support for College Expenses

Like standard child support payments, an order for one parent to pay college expenses can be terminated under certain circumstances. These include when the child:

  • Does not maintain a “C” average, unless there is an illness or other valid reason for failing to achieve a passing grade,
  • Turns 23 or 25 years old, depending on the order,
  • Obtains a bachelor’s degree, or
  • Gets married

Parents sometimes think that other circumstances may allow them to terminate a support order for college expenses. Most often, these situations include if the child goes to jail, becomes pregnant, or enlists in the military. None of these reasons justify the termination of payments related to college expenses.

Our Family Lawyers Understand that Unique Issues in Divorce

Divorce has many common issues, including property division, child custody, and more. Certain cases, however, also have unique issues, including the payment of college expenses. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, our skilled Hinsdale family lawyers can advise on every aspect of your case and help you secure the fair settlement you deserve. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation and to learn more about how we can help.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K513

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