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DuPage County child support attorney for college expensesThe average cost of a 4-year public college education is just over $45,000. If the student attends a private or out-of-state school, that number can rise to $100,000-$150,000, or even more. Understandably, paying for children’s college tuition and fees is a major concern for many parents. The question of how to finance a child’s college education becomes even more pressing if the parents are unmarried or divorced. If you plan to end your marriage or were never married to your child’s other parent, it is essential that you understand your rights and obligations regarding non-minor support for college expenses.

How Much Money Are Parents Required to Contribute to Their Child’s College Education?

Illinois courts have the authority to require parents who are unmarried or divorced to contribute toward their children’s college expenses. These expenses may include tuition, housing, textbooks and fees, living expenses, medical insurance, and medical expenses. Courts may order parents’ financial contributions to be paid to the child, the university or college, or to either parent. 

There is no statutory formula for calculating the amount that each parent must pay toward the child’s education. However, there is a cap on the amount of money that a parent can be ordered to contribute. According to Illinois law, the amount that a parent is required to contribute cannot surpass the current cost of in-state tuition and fees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Parents’ obligations end if the student fails to maintain a “C” average, turns 23, receives his or her bachelor’s degree, or gets married. Parents are not typically ordered to contribute to their child’s master’s degree or other advanced education. In special circumstances, a court may make an exception to these rules.  

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DuPage County child support lawyersWhen contemplating a divorce, parents have more to think about than just their relationship. While no one wants to stay in an unhealthy relationship, parents oftentimes choose to remain in toxic relationships, due to financial concerns, insecurity, and the wellbeing of their children. For many parents, the thought of a separation is quelled by the notion that they will no longer be able to support their children. Even those that believe they will receive child support payments have questions about their long-term ability to support their children’s dreams. No question is bigger than "Will I be able to help my child go to college?"

Fortunately, the state of Illinois has laws that can help sole-custody parents continue to receive child support for a non-minor child’s education expenses. If you want to help your child attend a quality university but are worried that your former spouse may not contribute, it may be time to contact a family law team that will represent your family’s best interest.

The Price of a College Education

College tuition prices have skyrocketed. The average 4-year private university costs approximately $50,000 per year. While tuition costs alone can seem insurmountable,  the modern college student is faced with ever-increasing room and board payments, transportation expenses, fees for books and supplies, and other financial obligations.

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Posted on in Child Support

Trying to prepare for financial obligations after a divorce can be stressful. Understanding a new financial landscape can be difficult when trying to assess bills or expenses, such as rent, utilities, car payments, or health care. Preparing for that financial change can be even more challenging when a child is about to start college. College can be a major expense; according to The College Board, the average tuition at a private four-year college is $31,231 a year-and that figure does not include additional costs such as housing, food, and books. While any family preparing to send a child to college is faced with the same financial burden, divorced parents may wonder who is responsible for the cost of college.

Financial Obligations to Children

When people consider providing financial support for children after divorce, the first thing that often comes to mind is child support. According to Illinois law, child support is generally available until a child reaches the age of 18 (or the age of 19 if he or she is still attending high school) and is designed to contribute to the basic needs of the child, including food, shelter, and health care. Illinois law also allows for continued child support for children over the age of 18 or 19 if they are mentally or physically disabled.

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