Many parents in the Chicago area who get divorced have minor children from the marriage at the time of the divorce. When there are minor children from a marriage, Illinois law says that both parents are responsible for contributing to the child support obligation. Under the Illinois “income shares” model, a court calculates a total child support obligation based on both parents’ incomes, and then it assigns each parent a portion of that obligation based on their income, the total number of overnights with the kids, and other factors.
What happens when the child turns 18 and goes to college? Does the child support obligation include any type of college expenses?
While many states do not require parents to pay for any portion of educational expenses for a child’s college or university education, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) does have a section that pertains specifically to educational expenses for a non-minor child. In brief, parents do have an obligation to contribute to a child’s college expenses after a divorce and after the child turns 18.
Funds to Apply for College
The IMDMA clarifies that parents can be responsible for paying college expenses, up to a certain amount, for their children, and that a court can make this determination at the time of the parent's divorce. Even before a child gets to college and begins incurring costs for tuition and fees, the IMDMA says that the court can require both parents to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and to require either or both parents financially support the child in submitting up to five college applications, taking two standardized college entrance exams, and taking one standardized college entrance exam prep course.
In terms of college expenses, the IMDMA males clear that either or both parents can be required by the court to pay the following educational expenses for the child:
- Actual cost of tuition and fees, up the total amount of in-state tuition and fees of a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student;
- Actual costs for college housing, up to the cost of a double-occupancy room and a standard meal plan in a residence hall at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;
- Actual cost of the child’s medical expenses while in college, including medical insurance and dental services;
- Reasonable living expenses for the child year-round; and
- Cost of books and other supplies needed to attend college.
Learn More From a Chicago Family Lawyer
If you have questions about child support or college expenses in Illinois after a divorce, one of the experienced Chicago child support lawyers at our firm can help. Contact Arami Law, Inc. today for more information.