College Expenses in Divorce

Taradash Given, P.C.

Do I have to pay for college for my adult children after my divorce? Does my ex? In short, yes, under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), Section 513, divorced parents (or never married parents who have gone through a legal parentage or custody case) have an obligation to contribute to their children’s college expenses, however there are limitations.

How can I get my spouse to contribute to my child’s college expenses?

Unless the parents have agreed otherwise, the Court will not award contribution to educational expenses unless a party files a proper Petition with the Illinois Court. It is ideal for said party to file the proper Petition PRIOR to the child’s enrollment in College, University, or Trade School.

TIP: If you want your spouse to pay for college expenses, do not wait to file your petition.

What college expenses can my ex or I be ordered to pay, PRIOR to my child even starting college?

  1. 5 College Applications,
  2. Cost of 2 Standardized College Entrance Examinations (SAT, ACT etc.)
  3. Cost of 1 Standardized College Entrance Examination Preparatory Course

What college expenses can my ex or I be ordered to pay, once my child is admitted to college?

  1. Actual cost of the child’s post-secondary expenses, including university or trade schools
    1. Tuition and Fees: HOWEVER, said tuition and fees cannot exceed the amount of in-state tuition and fees paid by a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the same academic year.
  2. Actual cost of the child’s housing expenses (on or off campus).
    1. Housing Expenses: HOWEVER, said expenses cannot exceed the cost of the same academic year of a double-occupancy student room, with a standard meal plan, in a residence hall operated by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  3. Actual cost of the child’s medical expenses, including medical insurance and dental expenses.
  4. Cost of books and other supplies necessary to attend college.

How does the Court determine how much I, or my ex/other parent, contribute?

  1. Present and future financial resources of both parties to meet their needs, including but not limited to, savings for retirement;
  2. The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved;
  3. The financial resources of the child (i.e., scholarships, grants, loans, or income available to the child); and
  4. The child’s academic performance.

When does my obligation to contribute to my child’s college expenses end?

Unless the parties agree otherwise, the requirement to pay for college expenses will end if one of the following events occur:

  1. The child fails to maintain a cumulative “C” grade point average, except in event of illness or other good cause shown;
  2. The child attains the age of 23;
  3. The child receives a baccalaureate degree; or
  4. The child gets married.

Schedule a free consultation with Taradash Given today to learn more about your rights and obligations with respect to contribution to college expenses.

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