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collegeIt is no secret that college is an enormous expense, sometimes reaching well into the six-figure range. Gone are the days when a student could work through summer and afford college in the fall. The rising cost of college leaves many parents wondering: How will we pay for it? Divorced couples have the additional challenge of figuring out which parent will pay for what part of their child’s college expenses, and often must plan far into the future in order to address these issues.

College Expenses in a Divorce Settlement

Many divorce settlements contain provisions stipulating who will pay for the costs of college. Parents must consider and discuss their current and future income, other financial resources (such as contributions from grandparents), and any resources the child is likely to get from grants, loans, or education savings accounts. When these issues are not specified in a divorce order, and parents cannot come to a resolution on their own, the issue may be resolved in an Illinois court.

Court-Ordered Payments for College Expenses

There are only a few states in which judges can require divorced parents to pay for a child’s post-high school educational expenses without agreement between the parents, and Illinois is one of these states. This means that courts can determine the cost each parent is responsible for, even if parents would prefer something different. Parents who believe children should pay for their own education, or who do not consider college a high priority, may be dismayed to find that judges can order parents to pay for their children’s college expenses.

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Rolling Meadows divorce lawyerGetting a divorce can be a source of many new financial challenges, especially if you have been dependent on your spouse for support. Your divorce resolution may include orders for spousal maintenance and child support to help you provide for your own expenses and those of your children, but if you are going through a lengthy divorce process, financial struggles may begin well before the divorce is finalized. In these cases, it may be important to pursue temporary maintenance and child support.

When is Temporary Relief Appropriate?

The primary factor that a court will consider when determining whether to grant temporary maintenance or child support during the divorce process is the petitioning spouse’s financial need. When petitioning for relief, you will need to file a financial affidavit outlining your current situation and support it with evidence in the form of documents including:

  • Pay stubs

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Rolling Meadows child support lawyerThe determination of child support is an important legal issue for any divorcing or unmarried parent of children under the age of 18. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has established a standard calculation used to determine each parent’s obligation. However, because every family’s circumstances are different, the results of the calculation, and even whether the court decides to use the standard calculation at all, often vary. You should be sure to understand the various factors that go into child support decisions so that you have an idea of what your obligation may be.

Factors Considered in the Basic Child Support Calculation

In most Illinois child support cases, the HFS calculation is at least used as a baseline. This calculation accounts for a variety of factors, including:

  • Each parent’s monthly net income. This is the most important factor in calculating child support. The two parents’ monthly net incomes will be combined, and each parent’s obligation will be determined in large part based on their share of the combined income.

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child support, Rolling Meadows family law attorneysIn an unmarried or divorced parenting arrangement in Illinois, the parent with the majority of the parenting time is often entitled to receive child support payments from the other parent. If you are the parent with fewer parental responsibilities and less parenting time, you may be required to pay child support. Child support payment amounts are based on each parent’s financial circumstances, the children's needs, and other factors. Understandably, these factors may change. If you need to change your court ordered child support, read on to learn how to do so.

When Are Child Support Orders Eligible for Modification?

Illinois child support orders are automatically eligible for review and possible modification every three years. During a modification review, the existing child support balance, both parents’ income and employment circumstances, and other relevant information is evaluated. If the review reveals that the child support obligation may require adjustment, parents may request a modification.

If it has been less than three years since your original child support order was put into place or since the last modification review, you will need to show that a “significant change in circumstances” necessitates the modification. There are many situations that may be considered a significant change in circumstances including but not limited to a change in:

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life insurance, Arlington Heights family law attorneyFor many individuals, it takes a divorce to realize just how financially dependent a person may be on his or her spouse. This, of course, may be all the more true if you are also trying to raise children. It is for exactly such reasons that the divorce laws in Illinois include provisions for spousal maintenance and child support. These orders are issued, when appropriate, by the court to distribute the financial burden more equitably between you and your ex-spouse. But, what would happen if your ex-spouse was no longer around to provide support for you or your children? Would you be able to get by? If the answer is no, you may want to speak with family law attorney about including life insurance requirements in your divorce agreement.

Why Life Insurance?

A life insurance policy is designed to pay financial benefits to the named beneficiaries of a policyholder upon the policyholder’s death. These funds are often used to cover funeral costs, pay down debts, or to simply maintain a similar lifestyle. Married individuals will commonly name their spouse as the primary beneficiary to help provide a level of security in the event of their death.

Reliance on Your Ex-Spouse

It may not be easy to admit, but if you are seeking spousal maintenance or child support, you are still financially dependent, to at least a certain extent, on your former partner. Your reliance may not be as strong as it once was during your marriage, but you likely count on his or her help to provide for your most basic needs and those of your children. If he or she were to die suddenly, you could face tremendous difficulty as a result of the support payment ending.

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