Divorce comes with plenty of financial questions – including questions about your children’s future education. If your children are young, however, you may not be paying careful attention to their upcoming college years. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to take the question of who pays for college down the road very seriously. Your children’s education is likely very important to you, and college is an expensive proposition. The stress of divorce can obscure larger issues (like college costs) that aren’t pressing at the moment – but will be.
Child Support and College Costs
In the State of Illinois, your child support arrangements can include paying for your children’s college expenses. When college expenses are included, it delineates who is responsible for contributing to each child’s education – be it mom, dad, and/or child. This extends to how much each will contribute and how long the contribution will continue. Generally, this financial obligation ends when the child in question reaches the age of 23. If there are extenuating circumstances – or good cause – however, the obligation can extend until the age of 25 – but it ends there regardless of circumstances.
When it comes to a parent’s contribution to his or her children’s college educations, it’s calculated differently than other facets of child support. There is no formula for determining who is responsible for a child’s education – and to what extent. Instead, the court takes several important factors into consideration, including:
- Both parents’ current and presumed future financial resources
- Each parents’ ability to contribute
- Any extenuating circumstances (if one parent is remarried, for example, the court may take additional dependents as well as the new spouse’s income into consideration)
This process of determining a parent’s obligation to his or her children’s higher education is much less cut-and-dried than basic child support is, but it is a factor that deserves careful attention and that the court will examine closely – in relation to your exact circumstances.
As of 2016, the courts incorporate extensive college costs in their calculations, including:
- Up to five college applications
- Two standardized college entrance exams, such as the ACT and SAT
- A standardized college prep course for entrance exams (a recent addition)
- College fees and tuition
- A meal plan
- Books and supplies
- Medical costs (including health insurance)
- Reasonable living expenses
If You Have Post-Divorce College Expense Concerns, Contact an Experienced Rolling Meadows Divorce Attorney Today
College is an important part of your children’s futures, and planning ahead is critical to ensuring that you can swing the expense when the time comes. The dedicated legal team at the Delaney Heckman in Rolling Meadows will work closely with you to help guarantee that your children’s higher education isn’t overlooked in the process. Our experienced divorce attorneys are committed to helping you obtain a divorce decree that protects you and your children’s rights into the future. We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information today.