If you are going through divorce proceedings or have a child support agreement in place, you may be wondering about how you and your child's other parent will make decisions about paying for college expenses or post-high school training when your child reaches college age.
Even if your children are young, it is wise to plan ahead for the payment of college tuition and expenses so that both parents can begin saving towards their children's education, and to prevent disagreements about paying for college from adding to the stress of an already emotional and tumultuous time for families of students entering college.
Your DuPage County family law attorney can help you plan for your children's future by explaining the factors the courts will consider when assigning responsibility for paying college or post-high school expenses, and asking the court to consider relevant factors.
What Are Considered College Expenses?
Illinois law considers college and post-secondary expenses to include:
- Certain college application expenses, including the cost of up to five applications, two standardized tests, and one test prep course, including materials;
- Tuition and fees;
- Books and supplies;
- Housing expenses;
- Health insurance and medical expenses, including dental; and
- Reasonable living expenses, including meals, utilities, and transportation. This applies even when the child continues to live at home or with one parent.
Factors Courts Consider When Dividing Assigning Responsibility for College Expenses
There are several factors the courts will consider when determining how much each parent must contribute to their child's college or post-secondary education, including:
- Each parent's income and financial resources;
- The child's own financial resources and income, including financial aid and grants awarded and college savings plans created on his or her behalf;
- The standard of living the child is accustomed to and would have experienced had his or her parents never divorced;
- The child's academic performance.
Clarification of Factors for College Expense Planning under New 2016 Law
Under the most recent changes to the Illinois family law guidelines, the court will also take into account the parents' needs to save for their own retirement expenses when deciding how to assign college tuition and expense payments.
When Does Support for College Expenses End?
In Illinois, a parent's obligation to help support his or her child can extend up until the child turns 23, or 25 under certain circumstances. There are several reasons where the court may determine that support is no longer warranted, though. Typically this occurs when the child is consistently not doing well in school, graduates, or marries.
Consult an Experienced DuPage County Family Law Attorney
Whether you already have a divorce decree or child support agreement in place, or are just beginning to consider divorce proceedings, it is important to discuss planning ahead for the allocation of college expenses with your experienced DuPage County family law attorney.