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Child Support and College Education Expenses in Chicago

 Posted on July 08, 2022 in Child Support

chicago child support lawyerNegotiating education expenses for a child in a divorce decree can be contentious, especially if the divorce is acrimonious. In Illinois, child support usually ceases once a child is 18 years old and graduates from high school. After child support obligations cease, some divorced parents may still need to pay higher education expenses. Effective January 1, 2016, Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act affirms that divorced parents may be required to contribute to their non-minor child’s post-high-school education and living expenses. 

Contingent to the divorce decree, the college contributions that each parent and child are obliged to make can be modified. A divorce attorney understands the complexities of non-minor support and can help modify or enforce the divorce decree.

Stipulations of the Illinois Law 

Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act includes certain stipulations. Since the financial circumstances of each parent and student may change, the divorce decree can be amended at the court's discretion. A parent may no longer be able to pay tuition and living expenses because of unemployment, illness, or disability. Alternatively, a parent may purposely neglect these obligations.

The court may require parents to pay for a child’s college expenses or the court may split the cost between the parents and the children. When determining how college expenses should be funded, courts consider:

  • The child’s financial resources – Payments could derive from income, savings, investments, scholarships, grants, and a 529 account which designates funds for higher education. The court and divorce attorneys will evaluate these finances.

  • The child’s school performance – The student’s grade point average must not fall below a C.

  • Tuition Expense Limit – The parents will not be mandated to make a contribution exceeding the annual tuition, double occupancy housing, books, and on-campus meal plan costs at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, during that academic year. If the student wishes to attend a more expensive university and the parents are unwilling or unable to pay, the student will be responsible for the remaining expenses.

  • Date of Conclusion – Payments cease on the student’s 23rd birthday date. If the student’s college start date was delayed due to military service or illiness, the payment could extend until the 25th birthday date. If the student is to marry, payments automatically terminate.

  • Student’s Residence – Expenses can be adjusted if the non-minor child resides with one parent or alternates between the two while attending post-high school education. The court will evaluate the cost of food, transportation, and overall living expenses to ascertain what each parent will owe.

Types of Post-High School Education and Living Expenses 

  • College tuition

  • Community college tuition

  • Trade schools tuition

  • Vocational school tuition

  • Professional training tuition

  • SAT and ACT preparation courses

  • SAT and ACT

  • Five college applications

  • Housing and household utilities

  • Meal plans

  • Books

  • Supplies that could include a personal computer

  • Medical insurance

  • Dental insurance

  • Living expenses

Contact a Chicago Divorce Attorney

Family law attorney and registered CPA Curtis Bennett Ross of The Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, L.L.C., has more than 30 years of experience. Curtis Bennett Ross and his team of professionals treat their clients with compassion and diligently aim for positive solutions. We appreciate the financial and emotional plights of negotiating non-minor support cases. If you are concerned about your adult child’s college-related expenses, for a free limited consultation, contact a Cook County family divorce lawyer at The Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, L.L.C. 312-984-1514.  





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