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Does Child Support Cover College Tuition?

Does Child Support Cover College Tuition?

In Illinois, parents are obligated to provide financially for their children. This is true even after a divorce, when one or both of the parties will be required to pay child support. While many people believe that the obligation to pay child support automatically terminates when a minor reaches the age of 18 years old, the reality is that many parents are required to provide financial assistance for their child’s post-secondary education expenses, even after their child reaches the age of majority. If your child is heading off to college in the fall and you have questions about child support, it is critical to speak with an experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorney who can address your concerns.

What Expenses Does Child Support Cover?

Recent changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), now require some parents to contribute to their child’s educational expenses after high school. In some cases, parents may be required to pay for tuition and other post-secondary educational expenses until the child reaches the age of 23 years old. However, if a party is able to demonstrate good cause, offering financial assistance can be required until the child turns 25 years old.

According to the recent changes, divorced parents are also obligated to help cover the cost of getting into college, which could include paying for:

  • Up to five college applications;
  • Two standardized college entrance exams; and
  • One standardized college entrance exam prep course.

Prior to the passage of the IMDMA amendments, these expenses were not specifically listed. Now, the law also clarifies additional educational expenses, for which a child’s parents are responsible, including:

  • College fees;
  • Housing costs;
  • Living expenses;
  • Meal plans;
  • Medical expenses, including insurance payments;
  • Textbooks and supplies; and
  • Tuition.

How Much Must a Parent Pay?

The cost of tuition and housing will vary depending on the type of college that a child attends. As a result, the law caps the cost of what a parent must pay at an amount that is equal to the cost of attending a University of Illinois. To help determine how much each party is required to pay, courts analyze a series of factors, including:

  • The financial resources of both parents;
  • The child’s financial resources;
  • The standard of living that the child would have enjoyed if the parties had not obtained a divorce; and
  • The child’s academic performance.

However, in order to receive any post-secondary educational support, the parties’ children must agree to sign consent forms allowing their parents access to academic records, such as transcripts. The obligation to pay child support can only be terminated in a few situations, such as if the child:

  • Fails to maintain a cumulative “C” average, unless the cause is related to poor health;
  • Completes his or her bachelor’s degree; or
  • Marries.

Call an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

Please contact experienced family law attorney Susan A. Marks today by calling SAM LAW OFFICE LLC at 847-255-9925 to learn more about your child support rights and responsibilities under Illinois law.

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