Do Both Parents Pay for a Child’s College Expenses After Divorce?

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.

When considering how much parents will pay, the judge will consider factors such as each parent’s financial resources, the child’s financial resources, and the standard of living the child would have had if the parents had stayed together. A judge may decide not to require one or both parents to pay at all, or may require the child to pay part of the cost.

Among the costs the court can consider are books, housing, living expenses, and tuition. The court may also order parents to help pay for trade schools or occupational licensing programs. Parents may be held responsible for educational costs until the child turns 23 (or 25, if there was a legitimate reason for a delay in seeking education, such as religious or military service). Once a child receives their degree or gets married, the parents’ obligation ends.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Divorce Attorney

Deciding who will pay for college can be challenging. The sooner you prepare, the better. An experienced Cook County divorce attorney can help you navigate your case and will advocate assertively on your behalf. Call the Cosley Law Office today at 847-253-3100 and get a free consultation.

Source:

https://www.illinoislegalaid.org/legal-information/child-support-college-students

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