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How Do Divorced Couples Handle College and Other Educational Costs?

Posted on in Divorce

Western Spring divorce attorney child support

Divorce brings about a number of financial implications. If you are a parent planning to divorce, one of the most pressing financial concerns you may be facing is your child’s college education. Public and private university tuition has skyrocketed in the last several decades. While you were married, you probably assumed that you and your spouse would finance your child’s college education together. Now that your Illinois marriage is ending, you may be unsure of how to deal with college-related costs for your son or daughter.

Child Support May Extend into College Years

When most people think about child support, they assume that a recipient parent is only entitled to support while the child is still a minor. However, an Illinois child support obligation may extend past the child’s 18th birthday if he or she is still in school. Illinois law gives courts the authority to allocate college-related expenses to unmarried or divorced parents. These expenses typically include tuition, textbook rental, course fees, housing, and healthcare. In many cases, a divorced couple’s marital settlement agreement addresses how college expenses should be handled.

How Much Do I Have to Contribute?

The amount of money that a divorced parent must contribute to college expenses is not based on a statutory formula as it is with traditional child support.  The amount that a parent is expected to contribute is up to the court’s discretion and is largely based on each parent’s income, assets, and earning capacity as well as the child’s own financial resources including scholarships and loans. Parents’ obligation to help finance their child’s university education usually terminates when the child reaches age 23. However, if there is a good reason that the child should continue receiving financial assistance, the parents’ obligation may be extended until the child turns 25. The parents’ obligation may terminate if the child fails to maintain a “C” average or gets married.

Illinois law places a cap on the amount of money that a parent can be required to contribute to a child’s college education. The current cost of tuition and housing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is used to set the maximum amount of money that a parent is expected to contribute to a child’s college education.

Contact a Burr Ridge Child Support Lawyer

Divorced parents may be required to contribute to their child’s university costs. If you are planning to divorce or you have already divorced and you have questions about the allocation of college expenses, contact the accomplished law firm of Botti Marinaccio, LTD. Call us today at 630-575-8585 to set up a personalized consultation with one of our skilled Cook County divorce attorneys.




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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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