Every year thousands of students receive their acceptance letters and financial aid packages to college. Although, there are a variety of scholarships, grants, and federal loans available to help cover the cost of tuition, much of the expense is covered by students and their parents. The general understanding is that parents have a choice as to whether or not they will pay for college expenses. However, according to some state laws, divorced parents may be legally obligated to pay for their child’s college education whether they like it or not.
Under Illinois law, divorced parents can be ordered by the courts to pay for the cost of college for their child until he or she obtains a bachelor’s degree. The details of these payments are ironed out during the divorce settlement. If the obligation to pay for the cost of college is not mentioned in the divorce settlement, the divorced parent is not obligated to pay unless a subsequent court order directs him or her to do so. These contributions for college expenses can include tuition and health insurance during the child’s four years in college. A divorced parent cannot stop payments because he or she does not like the chosen college, major, or that the relationship with the child has become estranged.
Challenging the court ordered college cost contribution is possible. The court may consider factors such as both parents’ finances, the child’s standard of living had the divorce not occurred, the child’s finances, and the child’s academic performance. If the situation warrants an adjustment of terms, a post judgement modification can be executed.
If you have questions regarding child support with regard to college expenses or other family law matters, contact the Law Offices of Ronald L. Bell, P.C. for help. Divorce is a sad and frustrating time, especially if children are involved. If you are going through a divorce, an experienced family law lawyer can help with complex issues such as these.