Are College Expenses Automatically Added to Child Support in Illinois?

Are College Expenses Automatically Added to Child Support in Illinois?

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

One of the most important aspects of raising a child is making sure they have everything they need, including a good education. College expenses are not automatically added to support, but a contribution to college expenses may be considered under Illinois law. The court will look at a number of factors when making a decision about college financial assistance, including the child’s needs and the parent’s ability to pay. In some cases, the court may order one or both parents to contribute to the cost of college.

Residents of Illinois can contact the Chicago family law firm, Gordon & Perlut, LLC. for questions about child support and college expenses.

How the Process Works

In Illinois, even after a child has completed high school or attained the age of majority, one parent can still ask the other for help paying for college and other applicable educational expenditures. This is permitted under Section 513 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/513).

Provisions for educational expenditures may include not just public and private college tuition, but also any post-secondary vocational or professional training the kid pursues.

What Factors Are Considered When Calculating College Expenses?

When calculating college expenses in a divorce, the following factors are typically considered:

  • The cost of attendance
  • The marital estate’s assets and liabilities
  • The children’s best interests

For instance, if one spouse is paying for the children’s college education and the other spouse has a higher income, the court may order the higher-income spouse to contribute more to the children’s education.

However, under Section 513 of Illinois law, the responsibility stops at age 23. This is, unless, there is good cause proving why it should continue, and then the expiration date is 25 years old. After this, both parents are legally free from all college payment contributions as the child is considered old enough to take care of themselves.

Conversely, the payment could end before the child is 23 years old if the child:

  • Cannot keep up in college, i.e fails to get up to a “C” GPA -Grade Point Average
  • Gets their first degree awarded to them
  • Gets married

What if the Parents Cannot Agree on the Cost of College Expenses?

If the parents cannot agree on the cost of college expenses after a divorce, the court will usually order the contribution amount of each parent, and what responsibility the child has as well.  The total cost will be capped at the cost of the University of Illinois.

What Is the Procedure for Making Payments?

Sums may be directed to be paid in the following ways:

  • To the other parent
  • To the educational institution
  • Into a special account or trust established for that purpose

The court will make this determination based on the specifics of the case.

Contact Our Chicago area Family Law Attorneys

If you are considering divorce and have questions about how college expenses will be handled, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney.

As you have seen, college expenses are not automatically added to support in Illinois. The amount of college contribution is determined by a number of factors, including the parents’ income and the needs of the child.

To understand your specific situation and what potential consequences could arise from any decision made, you may connect with one of the Chicago family law attorneys at Gordon & Perlut, LLC at (312) 360-0250 to schedule a free consultation.