How Long Am I Liable for Children’s College Expenses?
By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC
Whether you are going through a divorce or a split from your child’s other parent, you should know the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) allows a court to award college expenses to your child. The statute says the court can “award sums of money out of the property and income of either or both parties for the educational expenses of any child of the parties.”
The amount of educational expenses for a non-minor child are limited to specific amounts, and they cannot continue indefinitely. A parent’s responsibility for children’s college expenses only extends until the child reaches a certain age or when other conditions have been met.
Generally speaking, if you are getting divorced and you have minor children from your marriage, you should anticipate the court may order you to contribute to the child’s college or university expenses even after the child reaches the age of majority. Yet you are not responsible for these costs forever. Our child support lawyers in Skokie and Chicago can tell you about when your obligations to pay college expenses for your adult child will cease.
Child Reaches a Certain Age
In general, a parent’s obligation to pay for college expenses stops when the child turns 23 years old.
Child Fails to Maintain a “C” Grade Point Average
While a court can order a parent to contribute to a child’s college expenses, the parent’s obligation to pay for college costs and expenses terminates if the child fails to maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least a “C,” which is a 2.0 GPA at most colleges and universities. However, there is an exception if the child suffered from an illness or can show that there was another good cause for his or her inability to maintain a cumulative “C” grade point average.
Child Receives a Baccalaureate Degree
When the child receives a baccalaureate degree (i.e., a bachelor’s degree), the parent’s obligation to pay college expenses ceases.
Child Gets Married
If your child gets married while you are paying college expenses, your obligation to pay for college expenses terminates.
When Your Liability or Responsibility for College Expenses Does Not Cease
You should know that the IMDMA explicitly identifies some situations in which you might think your obligation to pay for your child’s college expenses would cease, but that obligation actually does not stop. To be clear, you are still responsible for your child’s college expenses if or when any of the following scenarios arise:
Contact Our Skokie Child Support Attorneys
If you have any questions or concerns about your obligation to pay college expenses for your adult child, you should get in touch with one of our Chicago or Skokie child support attorneys as soon as possible. Do not hesitate to seek our advice about managing college expenses obligations or any other child support obligations under Illinois law. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today for more information about how we can assist you.