New Law Limits College Expense Support Considerations

college expenses, new law, Illinois family law attorneyFor a number of years now, Illinois family courts have had the authority to order one or both parents to contribute toward the post-high school education of their children. In fact, the court even has the discretion to order college expense support to be drawn from the estate of a deceased parent. However, until very recently, each case was considered entirely on its own merits with little in the way of standardized guidelines to provide consistency. Beginning this year, the future of non-minor support proceedings may look significantly different.

Subjective Decisions

In years past, a parent looking for help paying for his or her child’s college expenses could ask the court to require the other parent to assist. The court would examine three relatively subjective factors in making its determination, including the financial resources of each parent, those of the child, and the child’s academic performance. Everything else was considered on a case-by-case basis, including the choice of school, the appropriateness of the educational program, and the costs to cover reasonable expenses.

For example, if a child wanted to Northern Illinois University, the court was required to consider expenses in the neighborhood of about $26,000 per year. Meanwhile, a child looking to attend Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, would have required the court to consider nearly double that amount.

Cost Limitations

In August of 2015, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure that dramatically amended the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. A relatively small segment of the new law addressed the potential for inconsistency in college expense support proceedings. Most directly, the amended law—which took effect on January 1, 2016—sought to place a level of control on the costs being considered.

Going forward, reasonable expenses for post-high school education will include tuition, fees, books, room and board, transportation, utilities and any other costs deemed to be necessary in educational pursuits. However, the law provides that school-associated costs will be limited, except for a showing of good cause, to those associated with an average student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the same academic year. This is intended to help standardize orders for non-minor support, and limit the amount of research required by the court in most cases.

Schedule a Consultation Today

The cost limitation regarding college expenses is just one of the many recent changes to the state’s family law provisions. If you have questions regarding any of them, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorney. We will help you find the answers you need no matter what type of issue you may be facing. Call 847-253-3100 today to make an appointment at Cosley Law Office.



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