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Can a Divorced Parent Be Ordered to Pay for an Adult Child’s College?

Posted on in Divorce

St. Charles divorce attorneyCollege is an expensive investment and one that seems likely to only continue getting more expensive. As students around the world say goodbye to summer and get ready to return to their studies, parents in Illinois may be wondering whether their parenting plan has anything to say about college expenses, either now or in the future. 

Couples often create separate savings accounts for their children to be used someday towards college tuition. However, divorce can complicate the ability to effectively plan for the future. If you are a divorced parent with questions about paying for your child’s college, read on. 

Can I Be Required to Pay for My Child’s College? 

All states require parents to financially support children, but Illinois is one of the states that allows for non-minor support orders in which parents may be ordered to pay their child’s college expenses, even after they reach the legal age of adulthood. The educational expenses that divorced parents may be required to help their children with include: 

  • The cost of housing, whether the child lives on- or off-campus
  • The cost of tuition and fees
  • The cost of medical expenses, including insurance and dental care
  • The cost of books, supplies, labs, and other auxiliary expenses

In order to create a fair standard for all divorced parents, Illinois courts use the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a reference point when deciding how much parents can be required to pay. Regardless of where the child attends college, a parent will not be required to pay more than the amount of in-state tuition at the U of I unless there is good cause shown to the court.

What if My Child Is Not Serious About College? 

If one parent insists a child must attend college, a child may decide to go even if he or she is not particularly serious about earning a degree. Illinois courts have accounted for such circumstances by setting limits for parental obligations based on the child’s behavior. 

If a child is not maintaining a C grade point average, parents are not likely to be required to continue their financial assistance. The child may also be required to pay for a portion of the educational expenses themselves. 

Consult with a St. Charles Parenting Plan Attorney

Paying for college is a massive undertaking even in the best of circumstances. At Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II P.C., we have experience working with parents who want to plan for their child’s future. We can help you create a parenting plan that addresses the cost of college, as well as anything else you may need. Trust in the help of an experienced Kane County parenting plan attorney. Call us today for your initial consultation at 847-428-7725




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