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Contribution to College Expenses

Emmerth Divorce Law, PLLC Feb. 17, 2023

Graduation hat and dollar banknotes on tableWhen children are involved in a divorce, the parents are often required to establish quality child support arrangements. The support payments will help cover the child's day-to-day living expenses, health care, education, extracurricular activities, and other financial needs. However, issues often arise regarding how the parent will contribute to their adult child's educational expenses, including college tuition

As the leading family law attorney at Emmerth Divorce Law, PLLC, I have devoted my career to advising and guiding clients in child support-related matters. I am available to discuss your personal situation and help you understand how college tuition and other educational expenses factor into your child support agreement. From my Naperville office, I am proud to serve clients throughout Geneva, Wheaton, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, St. Charles, and Oak Brook, Illinois. 

Is Paying for College an Obligation for Divorced Parents?  

Under Illinois law, both parents and the child are responsible for paying the child's post-secondary educational expenses. As such, the divorcing parents are required to contribute to their college education. 

Factors the Court Will Consider in Setting the Amount 

Furthermore, to set the amount each parent will contribute to their child's educational expenses, the Illinois court will consider the following factors: 

  • The present and future financial resources of both parties to meet their needs, including retirement savings. 

  • The academic performance of the child. 

  • The financial resources of the child. 

  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved. 

A reliable Illinois child support attorney can help file your petition seeking contribution for college expenses. 

What Qualifies as "Educational Expenses?"  

Under Illinois law, educational expenses may include, but not be limited to, the following: 

  • The actual cost of the child's post-secondary expenses, including tuition and fees. 

  • The actual costs of the child's housing expenses, whether off-campus or on-campus. 

  • The child's reasonable living expenses during the academic year and recess periods. 

  • The actual costs of the child's medical expenses, including dental expenses and medical insurance. 

  • The cost of books and other supplies the child needs to attend college. 

Who Receives the Contribution for College Expenses? 

Once each party's contribution to their child's college expenses has been established, the court may also need to determine who will receive the support payments for educational expenses. The court may order the parents to pay the contribution to the following parties or entities: 

  • The child 

  • Either party 

  • The educational institution, directly or through a special account 

  • A trust created for this specific purpose 

A seasoned attorney can advocate for your best interests and help negotiate a feasible child support payment with the other party. 

Requirements That Will Be Enforced 

However, if the court orders contribution to educational expenses, the following requirements must be met: 

Sign a Consent: Both the child and the parents must sign the necessary consent, requesting the educational institution to grant the supporting party access to the child's academic records, transcripts, and grade reports. 

Maintain GPA: Also, the child must maintain a cumulative "C" grade point average (GPA), except due to illness or other tangible reasons. 

Failure to meet these requirements may be a basis for either party to seek adjustment or termination of the order. A trusted divorce attorney can help protect you and your children’s best interests and enforce the other party’s compliance with the existing agreement. 

Speak With an Experienced Attorney  

When establishing child support arrangements in Illinois, parents are legally obligated to pay for their adult child's educational expenses and college tuition. However, determining the amount each party will contribute to the college expenses can be a complex process. Therefore, consulting with an experienced family law attorney is crucial for proper guidance as you navigate key decisions. 

I am dedicated to offering knowledgeable legal guidance and advocacy to clients in sensitive divorce matters. As your legal counsel, I can evaluate every aspect of your unique situation and walk you through your available legal options. In addition, I can help file your petition and represent you diligently during the legal process. 

Contact me at Emmerth Divorce Law, PLLC, today to schedule a simple consultation with a skilled child support attorney. I help clients and families from Naperville, Geneva, Wheaton, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, St. Charles, and Oak Brook, Illinois.