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Wheaton child support lawyer for college expensesIn almost every situation in which a child’s parents are separated, both parents are obligated to contribute financially to the child’s regular needs through child support. This includes expenses related to the child’s K-12 education, but it does not necessarily include expenses related to college or post-secondary education. For this reason, Illinois has special provisions in place that may require both parents to contribute to their children’s higher education even after they have reached the age of 18. As a parent, it is important to be aware of what you might be required to pay.

Calculating College Expenses in Illinois

In most cases, tuition and housing are the largest expenses associated with a college education. According to U.S. News and World Report, the average cost of tuition and fees in the 2019-2020 academic year was $10,116 for in-state students and $22,577 for out-of-state students at public schools, and $36,801 for students at private schools. The cost of room and board varies significantly depending on the college or university, but average costs in recent years come in at around $10,000 annually.

When ordering separated parents to contribute to college expenses, Illinois tries to keep costs manageable by requiring parents to pay, at most, the cost of tuition, fees, and room and board for an in-state student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For the 2020-2021 school year at the University of Illinois, tuition and fees are estimated to be between $17,000 and $22,000, and room and board is estimated at around $12,000. Actual expenses for parents could be less if their children are attending a school or educational program with lower costs.

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Posted on in Child Support

income, Wheaton child support attorneysIllinois courts calculate child support payments using a state-mandated formula that takes into account a number of factors, but focuses on the supporting parent’s income and expenses. In some circumstances, such as a heavily contested divorce, the parties may present conflicting evidence regarding their respective income. If the court has reason to believe the supporting parent has provided false, misleading, or inaccurate information about his or her finances—or if the parent is intentionally unemployed or underemployed—a judge may “impute” additional income to the parent for purposes of calculating child support.

Bank Records Show Husband Has More Income Than Claimed

Here is an example of how and when a court imputes income. In a recent Illinois divorce case, a wife filed a petition for temporary child support. The couple had three minor children who lived with the wife. In response, the husband filed a financial disclosure statement that stated he had a net income of negative $5,000 per month, meaning that he was investing substantial resources in running his business. While the wife claimed that the family's living expenses were more than $9,000 per month, the judge found neither party especially credible and ordered $6,000 per month in temporary support.

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